Be careful what you say

The giving of references goes to the core of the employer / employee relationship. Get it right and everyone's happy. Make an error and expect serious fallout. This principle applies to correspondence, which although not intended to be a reference can be taken as such.

The giving of references goes to the core of the employer / employee relationship. Get it right and everyone's happy. Make an error and expect serious fallout. This principle applies to correspondence, which although not intended to be a reference can be taken as such.

The case - McKie v Swindon College - involved an ex-employee who left with a glowing reference. He, Mckie, subsequently joined Bath University who in turn corresponded with Swindon. The college HR director sent an email to Bath about McKie which was about as bad as it could be. It was damning to say the least. MckKie lost his job.

The High Court found the email to be 'fallacious and untrue' and the preparation was 'sloppy and slapdash'. Swindon College was found liable for the job loss. Compensation and a possible appeal by the College are pending.

Be careful what you write.
This was last published in May 2011

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