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Myth 8 - Bad Reference

Myth:

An employer cannot give a "bad" reference.

Fact:

An employer is not under any legal obligation to provide a reference.

Where one is given, it must give a true, accurate and fair picture of what the employee was like. The reference must not give a misleading impression.

However, as long as the reference is accurate and does not tend to mislead, there is no obligation to go into great detail or to be comprehensive. This means that all information given should be able to be substantiated with hard evidence.

For example, the reference should not allude to an employee's misconduct if no investigation into that misconduct has been carried out and there are no reasonable grounds for believing in that misconduct.

The Information Commissioner provides further information about what to do if you receive a bad reference.