Getting a fair reference isn’t as straight forward as most people think. Contrary to popular belief employers are not obliged to give a reference for current or former members of staff. However, if they do provide a reference the employer owes a duty of care to give a fair and accurate reference. This does not require the reference to be absolutely comprehensive, nor does it mean that negative points or comments cannot be made. The duty is to give a fair summary.
That said, more and more employers are now providing only a ‘factual reference’ confirming dates of employment and job title.
Many job offers are made subject to satisfactory references, so the importance of this issue should not be underestimated. Sometimes an employer may be prepared to agree the wording of a reference when an employee leaves. We can assist you on an appropriate way to agree a reference with your former employer, and how to deal with a situation where the former employer has given an inaccurate or misleading reference.