Do I Have to Give a Reference to a Former Employee? Standard Reference Letters

As an employer, you might be asked for a reference for a member of staff who is leaving or who has left your business. You’re not obliged to provide one in either of these cases and you can actually refuse to provide a reference. I covered all the finer points of this issue on a previous blog, which you can read here.

In this blog I thought I would give you details of Standard Reference letters than you can use, if you’re asked for a reference.

Dear Name of Person asking for reference

We refer to your letter of [date], in which you requested that we provide you with [details of information requested].

Unfortunately we are unable to comment as the organisation operates a policy of not providing written or verbal references for individuals.

Yours sincerely

Your Name

It’s a simple as that!

Whether you follow this policy or not, it is important that you take a consistent approach to this issue and treat all reference requests in the same way. If you usually respond to requests for references but do not do so on a particular occasion, you run the risk of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, which provides protection against discrimination to employees, job applicants and former employees.

If you want to provide a basic reference, here is a sample letter you can use.

Private and confidential – for the addressee only

Dear Name of Person asking for reference

[Name of your employee] [was/has been] employed by [name of your company] from [date] to [date]/since [date] as [job title].

[His/Her] role involve[d/s] [short description of the employee’s key job duties and level of responsibility].

[Name of employee] left the organisation [insert reason for termination of employment, e.g. resignation, redundancy or the expiry of a fixed-term contract].

[Insert any other appropriate points in accordance with the organisation’s policy on giving references.]

While the information provided is, to the best of [name of our organisation]’s knowledge, completely accurate, [name of your organisation] cannot accept any liability for decisions based on it.

Yours sincerely

Your Name

If you’re unsure about any aspect of providing a reference (or not) please do contact me for a quick chat, to make sure you’re doing the right thing and so that you can avoid any future problems.

Source of letters:

Three Stages to Getting Recruitment Right – Part One

Three Stages to Getting Recruitment Right – Part One

In three blog posts I’m going to cover some of the basics of getting recruitment right – especially if you’re taking on your first member of staff.

First we’ll look at how to find the best person, then we’ll look at what to do when they start working for you and in the third blog, I’ll talk about what to do at the end of their probation. This three stage process will help you find and keep hold of the best people for your business – and avoid some costly pitfalls!

Part One – How do you find the right person?

So your business is growing and you’re getting busier and busier. You’re working longer hours, just to keep up with the work and the demands of your clients. You don’t want to turn business away, so you keep working all the hours you can, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Eventually, when your friends and family are really fed up of not seeing you and you’re completely exhausted, you decide it’s time to take on your first member staff.

But you’re too tired to think about it properly and you certainly don’t want to spend your hard earned cash having someone else do the recruitment. So you put the word out among your contacts and network that you need some help in your business. You’re not quite sure what the job would involve, how many hours it will be, or how long you’ll need them. But that doesn’t really matter does it? You just need someone to ease the burden – and quickly!

A number of people respond to your plea for help and you chat to a few of them. One of them seems quite nice and can start straight away, so you meet up to talk a bit more and then offer them the job.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?! Until you find out that your brand new team member doesn’t actually like doing some of the tasks you need them to do. But never mind, there’s plenty of other work to keep them busy. And then they ask about taking some time off for a holiday and one of your clients complains that some of their work hasn’t been done. Before long, you find yourself working longer hours than before you hired someone, just to check up on their work and correct their mistakes. The atmosphere in the office changes and you don’t look forward to going there in the morning.

That wasn’t supposed to happen – it’s your business and you’re supposed to enjoy what you do!

So how do you avoid all these problems? Do some planning! Think really carefully about the sort of person you want working with you and what they will do. Create a solid job description that includes the hours they will work. You can always start someone on part-time hours if you want to try them out. Most importantly, don’t leave recruitment until you’re desperate for help, as this will make you more likely to take on the first person who comes along, who you think will ‘do’. They probably won’t! If you have any doubts about a potential employee, deal with those doubts and take your time to find the best person for your business.

In Part Two of this series we’ll look at what to do when your new recruit (who really is the right person) starts working with you.