Government considers making employer references compulsory

Wiseman Admin2019, Employment LawLeave a Comment

The Government is set to consult on whether employers should be required to provide a basic reference for former employees.

Currently, there is no obligation for employers to provide a reference, except in specific regulated sectors, and it is at the employer’s discretion as to whether or not they provide a reference.

A basic reference would include a confirmation that the employee worked for the employer, as well as dates of employment.

The Government has also responded to recommendations made by the Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in discrimination cases, stating that it could understand that the withholding of a reference could be problematic for victims of discrimination.

A spokesperson for the Government said: “We think there is merit in considering this idea further and will consult on the matter in due course.”

Following the inquiry, the Government was keen to stress that the publication of employment tribunal decisions should not put claimants at a disadvantage, with MPs stating that individuals with certain types of claim could be negatively affected by aspects of the tribunal system.

A spokesperson for the Government said: “HM Courts & Tribunals staff are already taking steps to ensure that hearing participants and other involved parties are aware that they are able to apply to have written judgments anonymised. The Government is working to ensure these actions are consistently and effectively applied.”

The committee made 45 recommendations, with the Government agreeing that the use of NDAs to cover up unlawful discrimination and harassment complaints is not acceptable.

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