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Job Reference Advice

About References

In case you were wondering, your boss or previous employers are not legally obliged to give you a reference. If they decide to do so there is no rule or layout as to how long or detailed it has to be.

If you are concerned about your current employers finding out that you are looking for other jobs whilst still working for them then don’t worry, most employers understand that this could be the case and wouldn’t ask to see a reference until after offering you the position.

Your employer does not necessarily have to give you a reference; this is becoming more of a trend recently as companies are worried about saying something inaccurate and facing legal action. Your new employers may not see this as a positive sign, however you normally only have to provide one or two work references alongside one personal one, so as long as the other references have positive feedback on them that should satisfy your new employers.

Bad Reference Problems ?

People believe that by law employers cannot give you a bad reference, but this is not the case. The reference has to be accurate and truthful, for instance if you faced any disciplinary action then your employer could include that in your reference.

However if you feel this reference is not 100% truthful then you have grounds for legal action. If you believe that reference has harmed your future work prospects then you may be able to sue for ‘negligent misstatement’. For this you must show:

  • The information in the reference is misleading
  • On condition that this information has caused negative impact on the prospects of future employment
  • The employer was neglectful when providing this reference
  • However if you feel you have been discriminated you can get in touch with the employment tribunal.

For Your First Job

In this instance you provide two personal references instead of one work reference. On top of which you could include one from an educator’s perspective, for instance a school/college teacher or a university lecturer.