The Court of Appeal has held that a reference which suggested that an ex-employee had recording and record-keeping issues was not unfair even though those issues had not been investigated as the reference made it clear that was the case and the reference was, overall, balanced.

What does this mean?

Flagging up concerns or allegations as to an employee in a reference does not necessarily mean that the reference is unfair.

What should employers do?

Employers should ensure that any references they provide are true, accurate and fair. If they include negative comments about matters which have not been investigated, take legal advice first; consider steps to ensure that the ex-employee has the right of reply and/or discuss the reference in advance with the ex-employee and seek agreement before issuing it.