The company I work for does not give references, they just confirmed that you worked here between whatever dates.
Cases like this make me think that I lot more companies will be doing that in the future.
Singapore's High Court has awarded S$4m* dollars ($2.9m, £2.25m) to a former insurance agent after a letter of reference lost him a potential new job. Singapore's Court of Appeal had asked the High Court to determine the damages after ruling last year that AXA had breached its "duty of care" to Ramesh Krishnan when its …
Why would any company give a reference that included anything other than the bare minimum facts about their employment. Anything that outlines performance can be a minefield.
You say the employee is great and the hiring company can sue if they think they aren't, you say the employee is a challenge and the employee can sue for false information.
Once they have left you then they no longer require any further performance evaluation. Safer not to say anything.
"I'm sorry, while we are normally able to meet such requests in this specific case we are unable to provide a character or performance reference. However we can confirm $PERSON worked here from X to Y."
We all know what this means. Why would you need to say anything else?
The only fathomable reason I can see for giving someone a reference that is both negative and detailed is if it was given by a senior manager (i.e. rather than HR) with an axe to grind.
"I'm sorry, while we are normally able to meet such requests in this specific case we are unable to provide a character or performance reference. [..] We all know what this means."
Well, exactly. Which is why I'd assume- albeit as an IANAL- that implying your meaning that strongly could (and possibly would) be treated the same as if you'd said it outright anyway, and form a similar basis for legal action.
Which, I also assume, is why some companies don't give out anything more than the bare confirmation of employment in *any* case?
I'm curious how anybody ever finds out about a negative reference.
If I were to apply for a job and my employer gave a negative reference, I'd just not get an interview and assume they didn't like my CV as much as the others. I'd have no way of finding out that I'd been given a bad reference.
It depends at what stage in the process references are taken (if ever). It varies from industry to industry and country to country but it is common for references to be the very final checks to be performed after the rest of the hiring decision process has been made - including potentially wage negotiations and indications of the intent to hire to the candidate. Only then would references be taken (they are invasive and potentially time consuming to do) and if they come back bad the candidate may be told (or guess) the reason the company has changed its mind.
<quote>They can be more candid when there's no record on paper.</quote>
Which has been known to bite someone on the ass!!!
If you do not know the person you are speaking to is who they claim to be, then any verbally provided information may end up in the 'wrong' hands.
I know of a company who got rid of incompetent manglement, and one of them used a shyster to 'pretext' a talkative receptionist into 'spilling the beans'. End result - a multi-million lawsuit for damages as the shyster recorded that call. The fact that the receptionist was not speaking "officially" for the company was considered irrelevant.
That led to a policy change - NO telephone confirmation of employment for any reason, any requests about employment history must be done in writing, with the validity of the requesting company verified before a response is issued. Then, in those instances where the inquiry is about an employee that leaves the company under 'adverse circumstances'; the response is to provide facts only. Let the reader draw their own conclusions.
Someone I knew once got a reference from his former employer in the food industry that said "The day after this person left our employment, a large sum of money was found to be missing from the company safe. Further than that we would not wish to comment."
There, short and factual. He couldn't be bothered to sue and retrained in IT instead.
the best reference you can hope for (if the referee is trying to cover themselves legally) is...
X has worked for us in the position of Y for Z years and I would have no hesitation in re-employing X if they so wished.
the worst reference is...
the letter requesting the reference torn into quarters and posted back.
"The letter requesting the reference torn into quarters and posted back."
I like this! Of course this is but one way of providing references. Look, if you are giving references, you should know what the reference is going to say. Anything else is just plain dumb.
"This employee works well when cornered like a rat and under constant supervision."
That being said, I know one person who suspected a particular former employer was providing a bad and biased reference. Due to her separation, she had already engaged a lawyer. They had their receptionist call and ask for a reference. Which what then added to the suit for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Which, in Florida where this happened, is almost never decided in the employee's favor. This one was.
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