These Q&As deal with the legal and practical issues that employers will encounter when supplying and checking references for former, current and prospective employees, with a particular emphasis on providing references.

There is no detailed legislation specifically designed to deal with the general provision of references. However, some legislation many have an impact on different aspects and a list of the relevant Acts is given at the end of these Q&As (see Q ‘Legislation’).

Employers are not under an obligation to check a job applicant’s references or provide an existing or ex-employee with a reference. Most employers do follow good practice, however, and contact an applicant’s referees to obtain objective information on the applicant’s suitability for a role.

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