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I was employed by a public sector organisation for eight years.

Customer Question
I left my employment giving...
I was employed by a public sector organisation for eight years. I left my employment giving the required two months notice. The week before I was due to leave I was asked to attend an investigatory interview in respect of a disciplinary investigation into another employee (the questions I was asked made it very clear that those conducting the investigation were unfamiliar with the organisations policies and procedures). The following day I was verbally advised that I was to be relieved of my managerial post for the remaining week of my employment due to unspecified 'trust and confidence issues'. My former employee has, in the place of a reference, written a letter to a potential employer (the contents of which just been made available to me following a request under the Data Protection Act) I believe the contents to be misleading and defamatory. My potential employer has withdrawn the offer of employment. How should I proceed? (I offered to extend my notice period with my previous employer to enable a disciplinary investigation to take place -they declined)
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: UK Employment Law
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Answered in 5 hours by:
10/7/2010
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 years ago
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49,527
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi

 

So the letter was written in the absence of a disciplinary and based on the evidence available before you have managed to put your case forward?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Yes, that is correct. I was advised that if I was to remain an employee it would be 'likely' that I would be the subject of a disciplinary investigation myself. I offered to withdraw my notice or give a written undertaking to return to take part in any disciplinary investigation. My former employee declined both offers stating that as I was leaving they were not obliged to investigate me. However, they have prevented me from securing future employment as a result of this letter.

I have also formally requested that my former employer refer my case to the Social Work governing body -the General Social Care Council- the former employer stated in the letter to my potential new employer that they 'reserve their position' in respect of referring my case. To date they have refused to do this. My last day as an employee was 31 July 2010.
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 years ago

This is a potential case of negligence. When your employer provides a reference to a potential employer they have a duty to take reasonable care in preparing a statement that is truthful and reflects the facts. If you believe that the contents of the reference are inaccurate or misleading and that has resulted in losses (e.g. the retraction of a job offer) then you could sue them in negligence.

 

To succeed in such a claim you must be able to show that:

  • the information contained in the reference was misleading;
  • because of the misleading information, the reference was likely to have a material effect upon the mind of a reasonable recipient of the reference to the detriment of the employee;
  • you suffered loss as a result (for example the withdrawal of a job offer); and
  • the employer was negligent in providing such a reference.

 

If you can show the above then you may be entitled to claim damages from them. Sadly, to do so you would have to take them through court. There may be solicitors that could do that on a no win no fee basis but it is a matter of you shopping around first.

 

In the meantime you could write them a letter, setting out that you believe the contents of their letter were misleading and inaccurate and that their negligence has resulted in a potential employer withdrawing their offer to you. Ask them for financial compensation to cover the losses suffered as a result of their negligence and tell that that if they refuse then you reserve your right to take legal proceedings.

 

Please press the ACCEPT button. You would still be able to ask any follow-up questions if necessary. Many thanks

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49,527
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