Employment law myth No. 1: “It’s illegal to give a bad reference”
Many people believe that giving a “bad” reference is somehow against the law.
In fact, there is no general obligation at law to give an employee (or former employee) any sort of reference – good or bad.
Where the law might intervene (for example in an action in defamation) would possibly be if an employer provided a deliberately dishonest or misleading reference which caused some harm to the employee.
To avoid such potential pitfalls many employers adopt the position of just providing a statement of service confirming an employee’s length of service and position, but not commenting further.
For any advice on rights and obligations concerning references please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Read myth no. 2, “You need to give someone three warnings before you can dismiss them” here.