What is the correct process employers should follow when providing ex-employees with a reference before/after they leave the Company? A statement of service is seen to be unfair for those who have been with the Company a number of years, however, a longer character reference could potentially lead to litigation where a number of employees leave the Company at the same time and some may be given a statement of service while others are given a long character reference.

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 2 August 2011
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

The questioner rightly points out that the provision of references can be litigious. Providing long references to some and not to others can lead to allegations of disparity in treatment between employees, which, depending on the circumstances, may also be discriminatory. Employers can also open themselves up to potential litigation from the recipient, a future employer if it relies on the reference and the ex-employee does not meet the standards held out in the reference.

For that reason, having a Company policy on the provision of references is recommended. On one hand, if long references are given, this policy can clearly set out who has authority to give such a reference and what they

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

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