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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44896
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer Question

Hi Ben
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Can you please explain your situation in a bit more detail?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I have a new job with a financial institution and they are going to conduct reference not my previous job but a job I had prior to my previous job, I was suspended for gross misconduct but I had personal problems because I lost my granddad and I just could not take having to go for a disciplinary so I told them about and resigned but now I am thinking it would affect my reference
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you there?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
are you going to use that company as a reference?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need to know what to do
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Whilst there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, if they choose to do so they will automatically owe them a duty to take reasonable care in its preparation. This requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than just personal opinion.
Certain principles have been established through case law over the years and the main points can be summarised as follows:
1. In the case of Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney the employer provided a reference which contained details of disciplinary proceedings which were pending at the time the employee left. The court decided that the employer had not breached its duty of care by providing such a reference as it would have a duty to provide a reference that is true, accurate and fair and does not present facts so as to give a misleading impression overall. Therefore, if the employer had not included details of the disciplinary proceedings it would have failed in its duty to the prospective employer to provide a reference that was not unfair or misleading.
2. In the later case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee's alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. This can be applied to other matters forming part of a reference, not just issues of misconduct.
So if it is obvious that incorrect facts have been relied on, the contents are false or misleading, there may be a potential case for negligence against the employer and this matter could be taken further by seeking compensation in the county court for any damages caused.
It is also impossible to say how the new employer would treat such a reference – some may take it at face value and not mind much if there is a reasonable explanation, others could just reuse to employ you as a result. It is impossible to predict which camp this employer would fall in.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

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