Employment Law – Am I Entitled to a Reference?

The short answer is no, you are not.

Having said that, you may be entitled to argue that references are normal in your particular industry and that you were led to believe that you would be provided with a reference.

The next problem however is that there is no obligation that any reference given should be a comprehensive reference. It has to be fair, it has to be accurate and it must not be misleading but apart from that…..


From an employer’s point of view, you should be very careful about the type of reference you give to an employee when they are leaving. I have received many glowing written references from potential employees and from time to time I have wondered if the reference actually applies to the person sitting in front of me.

A new employer would, in my view, be entitled to rely on a glowing reference and employ somebody for a particular position and if it transpires that the reference was inaccurate or misleading then I believe they would have a strong legal action to take against the person who provided the reference.


The bottom line is that employers should be very careful when they are providing references to make sure that the reference is accurate and not misleading. From an employee’s point of view, almost certainly you cannot absolutely insist on receiving a reference but if you do receive a reference, it has to be accurate and it must not be misleading and it must be fair.

Kevin Brophy

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