24 September 2010 #Employment
Employers who are sued by a former employee are unlikley to want to give them a glowing reference. However, a recent case has shown the risks of giving poor references in these situations.
Ms Bullimore brought a claim of sex discrimination against her former employers, a firm of solicitors. When the firm was subsequently asked for a reference by a prospective employer it responded by referring to her "poor relationship" with the firm`s partners and said she could be "inflexible as to her opinions" . As a result of this reference the prospective employer withdrew its job offer.
The EAT held that the poor reference amounted to victimisation and that the firm of solicitors should compensate Ms Bullimore for her future loss of earnings. The Tribunal now has to decide how much the firm will have to pay, but if Ms Bullimore is still having problems getting another job, the award could be substantial.
Employmentbuddy (www.employmentbuddy.com) has a range of documents on victimisation claims and the provision of references, to help employers through this minefield.