If you like to keep up to date with the latest news and events surrounding HR and Governance – here’s our monthly round-up. Read how a recent tribunal ruling highlights the importance of giving fair and factual references, and join us at Turn Up the Volume! 2 Conference for open discussion and practical advice on whistleblowing.

Take Note If Giving References

 

You may not have noticed a recent tribunal ruling on references – if not you really should read on.

The giver of the reference failed to provide any favourable information about the former employee personally or about his performance. This amounted to a detriment and it created what appeared to be an entirely false and misleading impression of his successful eight-year career.  The tribunal awarded against the giver of the reference.

The case is a reminder that giving references is fraught with danger, say legal experts, with one lawyer commenting “…the underlying principle in all cases remains that any reference must be fair and factual.”

Mr P Mefful claimed he suffered victimisation and disability discrimination after his former employer, Citizens Advice Merton & Lambeth, where he worked from 2004 until made redundant in 2012, gave him a reference that lost him a job offer.

During the course of his employment at Citizens Advice Merton & Lambeth, Mr P Mefful had two lengthy periods of absence – one in 2009 and 2010 after he and his partner lost a baby, and further in 2012 for medical reasons.

After a lengthy spell of unemployment, Mr. Mefful was offered a job in 2015 and Citizens Advice was approached for a reference. The job offer was later withdrawn (after receiving the reference).

In the reference, Citizens Advice Merton & Lambeth noted it would not re-employ Mr. Mefful (later commenting to the tribunal that this was linked to sickness absence).

The tribunal found that the employer’s records on Mr. Mefful’s absences were overestimated to a “substantial degree”, and therefore his potential employer had been provided with inaccurate figures.  Mr. Mefful also provided the tribunal with evidence that suggested he had performed well in his role (which was not disputed).

The tribunal ruled that Citizens Advice had “failed to provide any favourable information about [Mr. Mefful] personally or about his performance… This amounted to a detriment and it created what appeared to be an entirely false and misleading impression of his successful eight-year career.”

Naeema Choudry, of  Eversheds Sutherland has stated that “…the underlying principle in all cases remains that any reference must be fair and factual.”

One of the services offered by WorkInConfidence is ReferenceInConfidence, which helps gather more candid references and mitigate the risk of being sued successfully when giving a reference.

 

Turn up the Volume! 2. Conference and Workshop

 

For those involved in whistleblowing, speaking up, or just wanting to create a listening culture, the Turn Up the Volume 2 Conference on Friday 26th May is well worth the time.

Venue: The Wesley Conference Centre, Euston Street, London, NW1 2EZ.

Time: 10am – 3:30pm.

Whilst the event is centred on the health sector and secondary care, it is open and relevant to anyone with an interest in the subject.

“This is an interactive and inclusive listening exercise, where we plan to help everyone use the experiences of all those affected by cultures of fear to drive forward real change.”

“The event will benefit clinicians, managers, Board members, Non – Executive Directors, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, and all leaders. We aim to be challenging and productive, providing practical information and ways forward which will live on after the event, and can be measured.”

Details and tickets available here: http://www.carerightnow.co.uk/events-2/

The event is organised by Care Right Now and Tim Martin of WorkInConfidence will be there, so if you do go please say hi!