1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

References from employers - Charge?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by zain, 7 Mar 2006.

  1. zain


    Joined: 4 Jun 2005

    Posts: 3,773

    If an employee moves company and wants a reference from its employer, the employer is allowed to charge a fee?

    Apparently its against the law, but now its not - Anyone know? Its one aspect I havent even thought about!
  2. cjeasom


    Joined: 29 Oct 2002

    Posts: 307

    Location: Land Of Pork Pies!

    the company would have to be exceedingly tight to charge for a reference! unless of course when you left you left them in the trouble i.e. leaving without serving your notice or something
  3. Burbleflop


    Joined: 7 May 2003

    Posts: 4,247

    Location: Away from here

    There is nothing legally stopping a company charging for it since it will be taking time away from their job to do but you'd have to be a serious tight arse to do it.

    I've never even considered charging for writing a reference.
  4. Borris


    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 30,410

    If they are insisting on a fee, you could apply for your information (which would include your dates of employment) under the DPA, in which they could only charge a maximum of £10.
  5. zain


    Joined: 4 Jun 2005

    Posts: 3,773

    Thanks, reason is:

    Staff come and go often in some organisations - The process of a reference in a fairly big organisation vary. An example of a working organisation: It would have to be references from a certain department, then typed up properly by say a receptionist and read to make sure its acceptable by management. This is time and money, which shouldnt be a burden on the company but the employee wanting the info.

    Seems fair to me, unless the employee has been a member for a while - if so, its a tad unfair unless the employee is a git :p
  6. Borris


    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 30,410

    If it's a fairly big organisation, I would have thought that an HR department existed, of which one of their roles would be referencing.

    In todays markets, references tend to only be a record of when and where an employee worked, and should not contain anyhting further than that. - not even of the department they worked in, and certainly nothing on how well they performed.

    If a company were to keep any information further to that on file, it would be subject to the DPA, and it would not be permissible to pass this information on, without specific and explicit permission of the (ex-)employee.

    Obviously, if company A were to be phoned by company B for a chat, that's a different matter - but there are still laws against defamation and slander.

    Every contract I sign with a company will have a clause in it requiring that company to provide a reference at the end of my contract with them.
  7. Admiral Huddy


    Joined: 17 Feb 2003

    Posts: 29,607

    Location: Chelmsford

    I've not heard this before.

    iirc, a company can not give a bad review but they can refuse but as for charging, seems a little strange IMO.
  8. jamoor


    Joined: 22 Jun 2005

    Posts: 8,824

    Location: Nottinghamshire

    We have had this issue a couple of times, we usually charge people if we fired them because they weren't good people.
    On the other hand one of our employees mortgage company asked us once to fill in a form for them, we charged them £150 for the privelege.
  9. Sequoia

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Aug 2005

    Posts: 2,948

    Any company can give a 'bad' reference, but they can be held to account legally for what they say. So, if you make comments beyond the strictly factual (names, job title, dates of employment, etc) it must be both balanced, and factually accurate. If you go out of your way to point out negative things, you should balance that, in as far as possible, with good points. So you could say that someone's work was subject to an unacceptable error level (if you can support that statement with facts), but that their integrity and honest were high, and their timekeeping was impeccable.

    Anything you say is something you may have to justify if you get sued. This is why people think you can't say anything bad - because the company may be held to account for it, many companies have policies that place VERY strict limits on what can be said in references and it's not uncommon to find that such policies either preclude anybody other than HR providing a reference at all, or limit any such reference to confirming facts like name, job title and dates of employment.

    But, other than potentially getting sued over it, nothing stops a company from giving a bad reference. It just has to be factually accurate, supportable by evidence and, overall, fair.
  10. The $6m Dan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Dec 2002

    Posts: 2,385

    Location: Leeds

    I imagine this cost was passed straight on to your employee. So you basically took £150 of your employee :(
  11. Sparky191


    Joined: 6 Dec 2005

    Posts: 790

    Jeez theres some seriously miserable companies out there.