Will you provide this reference letter if you were me

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enjoylife

Free Member
Apr 7, 2011
148
5
UK
I hired a lady to help my business in end of Nov 2013. It's a part time job. She worked 4 hours per day and 3 to 5 days a week. Overall, I am happy with what she done in my office. But she was not very reliable for her attendance . For example, she send me a SMS in the morning and told me she could not come that day. This happened 5 times in the last two months. The reason could be she was not well or no one can look after her daughter. I accepted her excuse and have to change my plan every time.
This Tuesday I was expected her come, But she did not come again and she gave me a call in the morning said she found a new job and have to start work immediately. In fact, she has started work in the new company.
I told her you should told me this earlier. Because I had told her I got a business travel two weeks later. Now I don't have enough time to hire and train a new person. She said she had another lady who can fit in here position immediately.
Now I am in a muddle. Should I use the lady she recommended to me? Yesterday her new employer send a reference request letter to me, should I give her a reference? If I don't if this will affect her new job? Although I am not happy with what she done in the end, but I don't want make trouble with her new job. She is a single Mum. I know she is not easy. The only thing I am not happy with her is she could told me when she started to looking for new job.
 
Just confirm that she worked for you between the times stated. And state that maybe its your policy not to comment on individual's performance in general.

I dont think you are technically allowed to give bad references. so it may simply be in your interest to draw up a reference policy stating the above and use this for all current and future employees.
 
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Newchodge

Business Member
Nov 8, 2012
16,234
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Newcastle
It is your choice whether to send a reference or not. If you do send one it must be truthful. You could state, for example, that she worked for you from (date) to (date) as (job title). That is true, but says nothing that might upset her new employers. You cannot say, for example, that she was completely satisfactory, as she was not, or that her attendance was good, as it was not.

As for the new person,you need to interview them and make your own mind up. I would be worried leaving a new person in sole charge whoever they were!
 
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enjoylife

Free Member
Apr 7, 2011
148
5
UK
For this kind of part time job(well you can say it's temporary job), can I ask my new assistant to keep a period of notice time before leaving. I know when I was working as permanent role, I need give one month to my employer but have no idea for part-time or temporary roles.
 
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Newchodge

Business Member
Nov 8, 2012
16,234
4,585
Newcastle
The legal minimum notice they should give you is 1 week. You can have a longer period in the contract if you like.

You must give at least 1 week notice (after the first 4 weeks) for every complete year of employment up to 12 weeks. Again, the contract can give a longer period if you want to.
 
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The Byre

Legacy Full Member
Aug 13, 2013
11,839
5,137
Should I use the lady she recommended to me?

Talk to her and find out! Call (don't write, call!) any references she gives and make your own mind up!

Yesterday her new employer send a reference request letter to me, should I give her a reference?

Yes, don't be mean!

If I don't if this will affect her new job?

Like you, he/she should be perfectly capable of making his/her own mind up!
 
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Yes, don't be mean!
!

Mean? This employee has dropped the OP right in it and shown only contempt. Not about being mean, its business. If the employee cant be bothered to work their notice then not sure why an employer should waste their time doing a reference. Time is money after all!
 
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Bob

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Jul 24, 2009
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I would endorse what @lynxus has said
 
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Bob

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Jul 24, 2009
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Problem is the second paragraph is completely wrong in law. You CAN give a bad reference.
Sorry. What I should have said was that I agreed with paragraph 1. :oops:
I appreciate that you can give a bad reference. Whether it is advisable or not is another matter :cool:
 
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Problem is the second paragraph is completely wrong in law. You CAN give a bad reference.

There ya go then :)
As i said, I "dont think" So wasn't sure on this subject. Although I always thought it was a big No No as it opens you up to all kinds of legal issues should it affect their new role?

Either way, i wouldnt personally recommend anyone give a "bad reference" unless that person was a serious trail of destruction.
 
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Taken from the link above (there are exceptions and the below should be put in context with the rest of the blog article):

---------------------------------------

In the absence of any express contractual obligation, the general rule is that an employer is not under any legal or contractual duty to provide a reference for a former employee. (Gallear V JF Watson & Son Ltd [1979] IRLR 306)

There is no issue in giving a poor reference so long as it is true, fair and reasonable. However if you are making comments about an employee or former employee about matters which were never put to them, then you should not mention those matters in the reference. For example, if a former employee was regularly late to work, or suspected of stealing, and you failed to put these allegations to them and in turn allow them the chance to rebut those allegations, then you must not include such matters within a reference. (Cox V Sun Alliance Life Ltd [2001] IRLR 448).

There is also another important point to remember when giving a reference, and that is the duty to the prospective employer. It may be tempting to give a good reference simply to ensure a current employee who you don't like moves on, even though they don't deserve a good reference. Employers will often give good references in many situations where they are simply not deserved. If an Employer relies upon a reference you give about an employee, to his detriment, then you could be left open for a claim in tort for deceit or negligent misstatement. (Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd V Heller & Partners Ltd [1962] 1 QB 396)
 
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SolutionLab

Free Member
Dec 17, 2013
147
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Well, you would not have gone to a small business forum asking this question (answers are almost universally no) if you weren't already slightly inclining towards an answer but, to answer your question : Yes. I would. I'd also bend the truth a bit to make it better, even if it means making a disservice to the new company or having a slight risk exposure (re: Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd V Heller & Partners Ltd [1962] 1 QB 396).


Look, I fully agree that she's been less than fair with you, that her absences are, to a degree, something that reflects badly on her character and that her actions have left you in a bit of a pickle. I also agree that in an ideal world where everything is more or less as it should be, it would be a simple decision on your behalf to share as much information as you can about her to her new employer or prospective employers so that they themselves can make the best decision possible.


Except that the world is not a recreation of Ozzie and Harriet and we just have to make due, using our own judgment to make the best decision.


Just like she has to make due being a single mother with a part-time job and, most likely, far too much on her plate than she can chew. She could have aborted the baby and saved herself the hassle – but she didn't. She could have leeched off benefits and not worked – but she didn't. She could have also, most likely, given that she was probably planning on switching jobs anyway, put less work into her job with you – but she didn't.


As you've put it yourself, you're fairly happy with her work. Your only issue is that she had about two absences per month (rather explainable by her having to take care of a young kid) and that she didn't give you a proper notice (rather explainable by the fact that employers avoid young mothers and I guess you have to jump at any opportunity).


Granted, I'm biased on this one, having been raised by a single mother. However, that also gives me the insight that it is a rubbish situation to be in and that I really should reserve judgment, partially because it can feel like a Sisyphean juggling act and partially because the world as a whole can be more Kafkaesque than received wisdom's hypotheses allow.


In other words, why judge someone in that situation so quickly, given that you'll never be in their shoes and given that, cetris paribus, the benefit of a good reference simply outweighs the cost of you writing it.


Sure, it's a not a simple if-then-else, because you have to use your own judgment to assign values to, say, the probability of her having issues at her new job if your reference is poor. But why not err on the side of the angels and give a good reference or, at least, a reference that focuses on the good aspects ? Life doesn't follow simple distributions and for all you or I know, a bad reference, or the lack of one, could have a cascading effect where she'd be looked at with suspicion by her new employer, creating a halo effect that means her work will be perceived as less valuable, leading to her redundancy and, finally, her looking at her kid with the Dostoevskian desperation of someone that is perpetually struggling but can't properly provide for his/her family.


Why then, when dealing with such a degree of Knightian uncertainty, not err on the side of the angels? We all depend on the random kindness of random strangers more than we would like to admit and, in this effectively Spinozan model, it's best not to judge too harshly.
 
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Bob

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Jul 24, 2009
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924
WOW what can I say. A truly heartfelt reply :)
Unfortunately, in this litigious world in which we live, I still favour the straightforward reply.
"I can confirm that Ms. A was employed by us from ?? to ?? ."

... and leave it at that. As has been said, it is up to the new employer to make their own decision about employment
 
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Anonymouse72

Free Member
Jun 16, 2012
764
158
But she was not very reliable for her attendance . For example, she send me a SMS in the morning and told me she could not come that day. This happened 5 times in the last two months.

just a suggestion for the future, perhaps deal with anything like this at the time it's happening via your disciplinary procedures. we don't allow text message to advise of sickness/time off, they MUST speak to a designated person within a set time of when they were due to be in work.

the reference, as others have said, i'd just confirm start & end dates of employment.
 
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