Everything you need to know about references (part 2)

In our second article on References here we look at what obigations a previous employer has whey they provide a reference for an employee.

The Data Protection Employment Practices Code recommends:

    • That employers have a policy on giving references that includes a requirement that “all those giving corporate references must be satisfied that the worker wishes the reference to be provided”
    • When an employee leaves the company, the employer should keep a record on file of whether or not the employee wishes the employer to provide references on him or her

The Code is not legally binding, but can be taken into account by a Court or Tribunal if there is a complaint.
their consent in writing if possible, or should at least make a note of the individual’s verbal consent.

The employer must not provide sensitive personal data in a reference, for example information about the individual’s health, race or trade union membership, without first obtaining the employee’s explicit consent.

Many employers add a disclaimer to the reference, stating that they cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions in the content of the reference. A disclaimer will be effective only if it is reasonable. If the employer has, or would be expected to have, direct knowledge of the information provided, it will be unlikely to be able to rely on a disclaimer if the reference contains information that is not true, accurate and fair.

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