There is no detailed legislation specifically designed to deal with the general provision of references to employees.
However different legislation deals with different aspects, For example:
- Defamation Act 2013 - Claims about references which have defamed the employee may fall within this legislation.
- Equality Act 2010 - Alternatively, discriminatory acts committed by any employer after termination of an employee's contract of employment are within the remit of the Equality Act 2010. This will only cover issues with a reference which are linked to one of the nine protected characteristics. (The Act does not apply to Northern Ireland).
- Employment Rights Act 1996.- Detrimental acts committed by a employer may fall within the detriment provisions.
The following legislation is also relevant:
- The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 may apply to attempts to disclaim liability for a reference.
- The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 applies to the provision of references and employers engaged in the provision of financial services governed by this Act are bound to supply references.
- The Data Protection Act 1998 may also apply to the processing of information in the provision of a reference.