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references policy
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References policy

References policy

Every employer is asked for a reference at some stage. But how should you respond - if indeed you choose to respond at all? How should you give the reference? What sort of detail should it contain? Our policy provides the answers.


Many employers get hung up on the whole issue of giving references - given the ease with which many applicants and ex-employees will issue tribunal or civil court proceedings, it’s hardly surprising. In truth however, if you follow some basic rules and are clear about who can issue references and in what circumstances, you shouldn’t go far wrong. The law is quite clear - if you stick to the facts and keep personal opinion out of the reference, there will be nothing for an ex-employee to challenge. Make sure you have appraisal notes etc. to back up any factual data you give. Our policy also makes it clear that if you’re asked to give a reference in your personal capacity, this should be made explicit. Finally, with the increase in online social media, and in particular business networking websites such as LinkedIn, which allow users to post formal recommendations and references about other users, our policy includes a prohibition on managers and staff providing this type of online open recommendation to employees and ex-employees. We’ve also covered the position where online recommendations are requested by clients, suppliers and other business contacts - these have to first be approved by a director.


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