This case is about:

  • requesting copies of employment references.

Miss R was offered a job as an administrative assistant in a sales company. However, after receiving her references, the sales company dismissed her.

Miss R was concerned that her references were wrong, so she asked both the sales company and her old employer for copies. Both refused, saying they were confidential.

Miss R called our helpline as she was concerned that she could not see what her old employer had written about her.

We directed Miss R to our guidance on subject access and employment references. We explained that organisations are generally required to release references they have received about individuals, even if they are marked as confidential. Miss R was able to use this guidance and asked the sales company again for a copy of the reference they had received.

The sales company also reviewed our guidance and released the references to Miss R, after she paid a £10 subject access fee. They also ensured that their personnel department was aware of our guidance in case they received similar requests in the future.

Miss R didn’t approach her old employer because she was now aware that organisations that provide references in confidence do not have to give out copies.