Why Should Employers Tread Carefully When Supplying Employee References?
The process of recruiting new employees can be enough to give any manager a headache. The complex process of employing a new member, with all of the checks and regulations you need to adhere to, can make it both a stressful and time consuming undertaking.
One of the most time consuming parts of the recruitment process is gathering references. Generally prospective employers will ask for two or sometimes three references from a previous employer, or a person of trust if the candidate does not have any previous employers. Generally, what an employer is looking for in a reference is to clarify the length of service, role and duties. They also look for information about the employee’s performance, attendance and achievements.
However, increasingly many companies are refusing to give references from their previous employees due to confusion and concern that a less than glowing reference may land them in legal hot water.
The legalities of providing employee references aren’t as muddy as you may think. It is fine for you to provide a basic factual reference, but this must be the same for all employees. An employer has a duty to provide reference that is not misleading. It may not always be appropriate to provide a basic reference where, for example, disciplinary action has been taken.
It is always better to be objective and factual when giving a reference. If you’re unsure whether the reference you are writing will be the unfortunate basis of a legal case, then consult a HR Advisor based in Manchester, who will be able to help to ensure that you do everything to the letter of the law.
One simple solution for employers is to ensure that any job offer letter, or employment contract, or indeed both, come with a statement saying that the job offer is made subject to satisfactory checks and references. If the references you receive are unsatisfactory, your knee-jerk reaction may be to withdraw the employment offer entirely. However, it is worth investigating further, perhaps phoning the referee and finding out more information, or contacting the employee to discuss any issues or discrepancies.
If after an investigation, but before the employee starts work you are still not satisfied with their references and no longer wish to continue with the job offer, then the contract cannot take effect. Equally, an employee who has started work can be dismissed fairly on the basis that the job offer was conditional on these checks being satisfactory. If you are unsure about any of the points discussed, it would be wise to consult a HR Advisor.
Whether you are writing a reference, or checking references, make sure that you are clued up the legalities. Honesty is the best policy. If you have any doubt, seek out the advice of a HR professional.
For more information about HR Consultancy Services, HR Outsourcing or if you’re looking for a HR Company in Manchester offering advice or support, contact Triple Three Solutions today on 0161 300 1214, or visit their website https://www.triplethreesolutions.co.uk/