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August 4 2016

Employment References - A Risky Business?

"A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in the UK demonstrates the risks of employment references, both for those who issue them and those who rely on them. In this case, Ms. X suffered from a ""disability"" and had prolonged periods of absence throughout her employment with Company A. Company A mentioned Ms. X's absence in her employment reference and also commented that it felt she was unsuitable for the role with Company B. As a result, Company B withdrew the job offer it had made to Ms. X. The EAT found both Company A and Company B were guilty of discrimination. Although the case was in the UK, had the same facts come before the Workplace Relations Commission in Ireland, a similar outcome may have resulted. In Ireland the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2015 (the EEA), prohibit discrimination on nine grounds. Employers need to be mindful of what they include in employment references, whether in writing or verbal."