References from an employer

6.8.4.L7 Updated on:13 October 2021

Does an employee have a right to be given a reference?

Employers are under no legal obligation to provide a reference. Your terms of employment may however say that a reference will be given and this then should happen. If it is a contractual term, the employer will be in breach of contract if they do not give one.

Does an employee have a right to see a reference?

There is no law in Jersey to cover the giving of employment references. However, under Data Protection legislation, the person who gets the reference (‘the receiver of the reference’) can be asked by a job applicant to see the reference. The job applicant would need to complete a  Subject Access Request.

What can I do if a reference is unfavourable?

You may be told that you will not be offered a job because of the contents of a reference from a previous employer. If you feel the reference may be unfair or there is no reason for an unfavourable reference to have been given, you can ask the person who gave the reference (the Referee) for an explanation and ask for a better one. As long as the information in the reference is factually correct, the Referee can write what they feel is appropriate.

If a reference is thought to be slanderous or libellous

If you feel the reference may be slanderous or libellous you may want to consider taking legal advice. You would need to get the details of what the reference says for further action to take place. Legal Aid is not available for slanderous or libellous claims.