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UK Employment Law (References)?

Is it UK employment law to follow up references from previous employer's? At the moment it is company policy to follow up a reference, but after a recent audit we are looking to scratch this policy.

Is there anything in the legislation that permits us to follow up a reference for a prospective employee.

3 Answers

  • SimonC
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    As far as I am aware there is nothing in legislation about references one way or the other.

    Provided they are not discriminating employers are free to adopt whatever policy they choose regarding who to employ and whether they use references. In my experience most ask for them but very few actually contact the referee and actually ask for a reference.

    If a reference is asked for then the referee is bound by the normal laws regarding defamation, contract, negligence, etc. EG, a referee cannot tell lies in the reference. If their previous contract with the candidate requires them to give a reference then they must do to. Any actions surrounding the reference must not be negligent. Etc.

    But all these things apply to a referee giving a reference (which is why most companies avoid all possible problems by giving very bland references).

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  • 9 years ago

    I dont think there is a particular law on this but it is good practice and is included in most audits amongst many companies. A lots of companies are rubbish at responding to reference requests and you will find that lots of employees have no references on their files. It wouldnt hurt to stop doing them, but then you would never know if you were hiring someone of bad character.

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  • Nick
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    As Simon says, there is no law about needing to take references.

    It is however good practice, as you need to satisfy yourselves that the potential recruit has not lied about their history - and it does happen! Some employers would not satisfy their auditors if they neglected this. Others might breach regulations applicable to their sector. I cannot imagine schools or nurseries avoiding references - parents would be appalled, and Local Authorities might mandate it (I have no idea, but would be shocked if they didn't).

    What brainbox thought you needn't bother, I wonder? Obviously you lack a credible HR director! Most employers are strengthening these procedures, not slackening off.

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