Press Release (ePRNews.com) - RAINHAM, England - Oct 08, 2016 - Whilst employers may think a referencer request is a perfectly natural process that can be easily fulfilled, there are some pitfalls to be avoided, as well as legal implications.
Apart from a few exceptions in specific industries, no one is obliged in law to give references and everyone is free to have a policy of not doing so. In this way employers cannot be accused of unfair treatment of an individual if they refuse to give them a reference.
Of course, suggests Essex bookkeepers Office Assistants, employers may prefer to be helpful to employees wishing to move forward with their careers by writing a reference for them. “If you do so,” says Office Assistants, “make sure it is fair and accurate. Otherwise, if the impression you give is misleading in any way, you could be in trouble down the line. You can include a disclaimer of liability for any errors, but this would not always help if a former or current employee or someone else decides to take legal action.”
“You must never issue a reference to a third party unless the employee has agreed. This is because it will inevitably contain some personal information and details the individual may wish to withhold. You could be in breach of the Data Protection Act if you release this information without the consent of the person concerned.
“If the reference request enquires about the mental and/or physical health of the individual, you also need to get their explicit consent to divulge it. It’s best to get this in writing as evidence in case it should be needed later. Even if you are asked to state a number of absence days without giving reasons for it, you risk a claim for disability discrimination.”
Where a settlement agreement exists there is usually a provision for a reference containing particular wording, which will of course have to be followed.
Finally says Office Assistants, always send the reference to a specific addressee, rather than ‘to whom it may concern’. If it were to fall into unscrupulous hands there could be further trouble.
Office Assistants offers bookkeeping services and much more to clients throughout the south east of England from their base in Rainham, Essex. For more information visit http://www.officeassistants.org. Source :