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Woman awarded compensation for bad employment reference

A woman has been awarded compensation after being given a bad reference by her former employers.

The case arose after the woman had brought a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination against her former employers. That claim was settled and she was then offered a new job with another firm. However, the job offer was subject to satisfactory references.

The former employer gave a reference which said that the woman was inflexible in her opinions and that she had a poor relationship with colleagues. It also referred to the discrimination claim she had brought against the company.

The reference led to the new firm modifying its job offer so that the woman would be put on probation for six months and could be dismissed with one month’s notice. The new terms were unacceptable to her so she declined the job offer and brought a claim of victimisation against her former employer.

She alleged that the reference had been given for illegitimate reasons.

The employment tribunal held that she had been victimised. It awarded her compensation for the injury to her feelings but declined to award compensation for loss of earnings.

That ruling has been overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal which held that she should receive compensation for loss of earnings as well as for injury to her feelings.

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