Ex-employer likely to give me negative and misleading reference - what are my options?
in Employment, jobseeking & training
38 replies 2.2K views
I’m taking my ex-employer to tribunal for disability discrimination and constructive dismissal.
I was harassed regularly and they refused to make adjustments.
Result of this is that it seriously compacted my anxiety disorder leading to 7 months of absence.
I’ve this week been headhunted by a company I previously interviewed with and was offered a role (which I declined for my ex-employers role).
This new company has kept hold of my CV and they’ve emailed saying I’d be a good fit for a £30k per annum role and invited me to apply with an updated CV - this is a substantial offer as I’ve only ever worked £17-19k salary ranges.
Naturally, I’m desperate to get this role and am preparing my updated CV and doing heavy research into the company/role etc to ensure I stand the best chance.
However, I’m concerned about my reference from my ex-employer.
Prior to starting tribunal proceedings, I asked about references and they confirmed they would include dates and reasons for absence.
Their reference if they do so will be misleading as my absences only occurred due to their behaviour. I would not have been absent otherwise. I literally ended up in A&E three times with chest pain due to their treatment of me.
They are obviously not going to state that they contributed/were the cause of my absence and if my new employer asks, I’m going to be in a difficult position of explaining without making it sound like I could be a problematic employee - especially if they find out I’m going through litigation with them.
My question is, how do I handle this?
I can’t not list previous role or not use them as a reference due to having only one other employer prior so I’m going to have to include it and let them provide a reference.
Where do I stand if a job offer is rescinded based on my ex-employers reference? Can I add this to my claim (we’ve already had the preliminary hearing too agree the list of issues) or can I make a new claim for compensation?
Given I’m midway through litigation with them, where do I stand in terms of contacting either my ex-employer direct or their solicitor to ask about/negotiate a reference? Am I allowed to do this or would I be jeopardising the tribunal in some way?
Am I best off doing nothing and just waiting and seeing what reference they give? I’m wondering if they’ll just give a basic reference given we’re in active litigation to avoid potential further issues?
I’m a litigant in person with learning disabilities and no legal advice so this is difficult for me to navigate so any advice would be very much appreciated.
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Your gaps when you did not attend work need to be explained, it won't be a positive for you.
'Thank you for contacting me, I can confirm that KatrinasWaves was employed as *enter role here*.
They were employed between *start date* and *leave date*
It's unbiased and leaves no room for complaint by yourself.
I suspect that your former employer will offer something similar, although their is no obligation for them to provide a reference at all (unless stated in your contract or in writing). When an employer has to give a reference: Providing a job reference - Acas
It would be up to you to convince your prospective employer about your reason for absence.
I would expect it to be in their interests to do this - from a tactical point of view, anything which looks like they are being vindictive or actively unhelpful would not assist their case.
That said, if their standard reference includes details of absence and you were, in fact, absent, then them including that information would not be misleading so I would be very surprised if it were something which could give rise to any new or additional claim.
Your best bet may well be to be prepared to give an explanation if asked - e.g. that you had some short term medical issues which you have recovered from
I do believe that if they give a reference detailing my absence which causes me to lose a job offer would amount to discrimination.