Tipster: Oh come on referee!
The issue of giving a reference is always a vexed one. Do you:-
-Tell the truth
-Tell what you think is the truth
-Give a brief tombstone reference (namely start date - end date)
-Ignore the request altogether
There is no duty on an employer to give a reference but it has been standard practice over the last few years that a tombstone reference is given providing brief details about start date, end date, positions of responsibility and possibly salary details. The fear amongst employers was that if the employee had, shall we say, been slightly useless or untrustworthy then they are either too polite to say it or fearful they would be on the receiving end of a claim for either negligent misstatement or misrepresentation.
The standard advice has been, for example, if there had been any disciplinary hearing left uncompleted or issues that were not supported by evidence, then they should not be referred to. However, a recent case seems to indicate that even where the matter may not have been fully investigated (in this set of circumstances it was in relation to record keeping) it can be referred to providing the comment is true and accurate.
The Tipster suggests that employers should still be very careful and it may be wise in some circumstances to inform an employee that if they are asked to give a reference then certain issues may need to be addressed. This will then put the employee on notice that there may be outstanding issues. Clearly this is not ideal but communication is probably the best way forward.
For further information about this tip or to learn more about Crutes’ services contact David Gibson on 0191 233 9762.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by David Gibson .
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