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Outlaw Bad Job References

Comment 8th August 2010

It's true. Companies CAN give a bad reference. There's a clause that only prohibits this is if the reference is false.

Fair isn't it?

Well, not quite.

1. If a former employer gave a bad reference that was false, how does the jobseeker prove it? Where there's a will there's a way, one might say. A good lawyer can always find ways to extract the truth. But this shifts the burden of proof from the employer to the jobseeker. The jobseeker's resources will be far more limited. He may find the process so stressful he will give up. He might prefer to use his time more positively, like working and earning.

2. It may be well be a true reference. But what if the jobseeker has greatly improved since the period the bad reference is referring to? It will then be unfairly prejudicial towards him. It would condemn him to perpetual unemployment or perpetual and unnecessary worry.

There was a time when a bad reference was illegal. And this wasn't without good reason. It ensured the burden of proof was on the stronger party: the employer. Now, this burden has shifted from the stronger to the weaker party.

Time bad references were outlawed completely. 

Why does this matter?

Unemployment is the biggest cause of stress (and indeed of crime).

The ordinary individual needs to be protected from corporate vindictiveness or, alternatively, be given the chance to improve, and live a life free from artificially induced worry.

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