References – Good or Bad

Some referees are unwilling to provide references. The excuses range from;

“I don’t have time” to “I am told you cannot give a bad reference”

Whilst an employer is under no legal obligation to provide a reference, unless this was previously agreed in writing with the employee or they work within a regulated industry where the provision of references is a statutory requirement, it is extremely unfair to refuse simply on the grounds of lack of time.

A reference does not take long and a prompt response will help ensure that the candidate can start their new job quickly.

All references must be fair and accurate and can include details about workers’ performance and if they were sacked or it can simply give details such as job title, salary and when the worker was employed.

The previous employer must be able to back up any reference, such as by supplying examples of warning letters.

It is important that people are given a second chance and an employer might be concerned that by stating that someone was dismissed they are stifling a candidate’s opportunity to start over. This has to be tempered with the knowledge that, in some instances, failing to disclose information that may be unfavourable to the candidate could endanger the people and organisation they have applied to.

For more information about providing references go to