Employers tend to ask prospective employees to provide references prior to a job offer being made. This is to ascertain whether the employee will be suitable for the role and to assist in the decision making process.

Key points to note

If you have been asked to write a reference, you should ensure it is accurate and fair. A defamatory or false reference could lead to the employee bringing a claim for damages for any loss suffered.

Best practices

When requesting a reference, ensure you have the employee’s consent to do so.

The aim of the reference is to allow you to make an informed decision as to whether the employee will be right for the role and your organisation. You will therefore want further information in relation to the employee’s abilities and capabilities when carrying out the new rule.

Personal questions should not be asked, for example surrounding health, disabilities or absences, before the job has been offered.

If you are providing a reference, it is best to provide one that is correct, fair and not misleading. The reference is likely to include the employees previously held job title, summary of duties and dates the employee was employed.

If a reference does raise concerns, you should speak to the employee to further understand the information that has been given. If you then believe the employee is unsuitable for the role, you should dismiss in line with the required notice period.


When providing references care should be taken to ensure that the information given is correct, accurate and fair. Any information which is misleading, defamatory or incorrect can result in the employee bringing a claim for damages for any losses suffered.