Will you provide this reference letter if you were me

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SolutionLab

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Dec 17, 2013
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Enjoylife,

You may still read this thread, or hopefully, you might get to hear my argument before making a decision. You've had the legal argument as well as the business argument, both advising a lack of reference or a simple reference that is probably more evocative than the lack of one. Both are very much correct but, at least for the sake of balance, please also read the human argument.

Needless to say, it's up to you as person to assign weights to the output of each block, decision which you'll make based on your character, itself not a topic for a online forum, but at least read each with degree of patience and take 5 minutes away from it all to ponder your options. My writing may be somewhat obtuse, for which I honestly apologise, but, hopefully, you're not the sort of person that takes more illustrative terms such as Sisyphean as some sort of personal offense.


Anonymouse,

Yes, fully agreed, clear procedures should be place. However, I can only guess that it is also a small business that Enjoylife is running and the benefits of being in charge of your own small business is a degree of autocracy (negative connotations, granted, but not always) that allows the human element to shine through the rule book, as opposed to hiding it under a pile of paperwork. Given the context, it may the case that the human element might deserve some thought.


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Merchant UK

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Aug 15, 2010
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www.welderfab.co.uk
Just tell the truth, Her time keeping was bad she had excessive days off and then decided to get another job without even handing in her notice, Nice!! You can't be at fault for telling the truth. that's what a reference is all about.
 
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Anonymouse72

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Jun 16, 2012
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Anonymouse,

Yes, fully agreed, clear procedures should be place. However, I can only guess that it is also a small business that Enjoylife is running and the benefits of being in charge of your own small business is a degree of autocracy (negative connotations, granted, but not always) that allows the human element to shine through the rule book, as opposed to hiding it under a pile of paperwork. Given the context, it may the case that the human element might deserve some thought.

we tried that approach, more than once was this particular employee given the benefit of the doubt, they just took the 'you know what' & thought we were idiots. we have rules we stick to, everyone is aware of them, everyone is treated the same, there are consequences if the rules are not adhered to = we all know where we are.
 
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SolutionLab

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Dec 17, 2013
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we tried that approach, more than once was this particular employee given the benefit of the doubt, they just took the 'you know what' & thought we were idiots. we have rules we stick to, everyone is aware of them, everyone is treated the same, there are consequences if the rules are not adhered to = we all know where we are.



Having gotten duped more times than I wish to recall, I see your point.


However, there are people for whom such a situation would be reduced to a question of how to maximise personal utility as well as people who are struggling and just inherently deserve a carte blanche sometimes. Her major decisions so far do not indicate someone who is simply ignorant to the moral side of things and EnjoyLife doesn't need to deal with her in the future.


While there is a slight legal risk depending on how he writes the reference, it's quite simply a matter of doing a good deed for a person that really needs a hand up to begin with. I mean, a single mother facing underemployment but who is struggling to give her young kid a better life getting attacked for 2.5 absences per month? Makes me think of the novel The Road. If this is actually reflective of the state of British society, then I wish she went on benefits, until the continual erosion of social capital puts the debt pile over the top and we all have to choose between becoming a slightly richer version of Somalia or maintain a semblance of society.


I honestly don't get it. Why not just do a good deed? It provides a clear benefit to the other person at very little cost. Please enlighten me out of my stupidity.


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oldnickb

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Jan 19, 2014
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Giving a bad employee a good reference is disgraceful. I have had people come with glowing references, then looked them up on facebook...

I would simply reply "As this person left my employ without giving any notice I do not feel able to give a fair reference."

And frankly anyone who thinks that you should make allowances because she is a "single mum" is living in cloud cuckoo land. If she can't organise childcare she shouldn't have taken the job. There are plenty single people without any kids dying for a job.
 
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alang23

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Jul 27, 2013
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Hi
We are often asked to give a ‘Reference’. There are times when we are reluctant to do so, and we therefore just give a ‘bare’ Reference. That being that Mr Smith/Jones worked for us from xxx to yyyy as a zzzz. We then leave it up to the potential Employer to make their own judgement.
If we were to state something that was untrue then we could be responsible for providing a spurious Reference.
However I must tell you what happened a number of years ago whilst working in the Far East. We received an application for a position from someone who’s Reference stated….’if he does for you as he’s done for us, you will be well and truly done for’ !!
Seemingly he wouldn’t leave his position with his previous Employer until he ‘got’ a Reference. Fortunately his English was not too good and didn’t understand the full meaning.
I am SO tempted at times to use it myself but can’t in the uk.
Regards
 
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Merchant UK

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Aug 15, 2010
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From The link that Sirearl posted

An employer doesn’t usually have to give a work reference - but if they do, it must be fair and accurate

i.e. Tell the truth, if they were a complete waste of time say so, the woman turned up when she felt like it and left for another job whilst still in the employ of her previous job.

Saying what she did and her bad timekeeping is certainly fair and accurate.
 
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Moneyman

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May 3, 2008
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I would avoid the hassle and not stick in any derogatory comments. It can only cause strife. I would be lovely and positive and put in something like "we wish her well in this sudden and unannounced job change and hope that she overcomes the family problems that were causing her to miss days at short notice and be distracted during working hours."
If you don't want to dig a hole for her then just put in the minimum on paper and offer to speak on the phone. people can read between the lines. Anyone who sends "x worked from a to b" is obviously sending a message.
 
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sirearl

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Apr 23, 2007
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If you are not allowed to use negatives in references,it would seem to make the whole point of them superfluous.IMHO

I suspect most employers would leave out negatives to be on the safe side.
 
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AnneLou

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Aug 3, 2011
267
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Lancashire
I'm sorry but as an employer with jangled nerves from crappy employees, I would happily give a truthful reference! Idon't see why someone can come work for my company, treat my company badly which then ultimately leaves me in bits and then buggers off into the sunset without any comeback! The fact was that this lady did some of her job correctly but then left you in the lurch - OK perhaps for a better or higher paid job - but that is no excuse. I always think more highly of candidates who I interview who explain that they cannot start for some period of time due to their current job commitment. If someone tells me that they can start straightaway and I am aware they have another job, alarm bells start ringing.

I would answer some of the reference questions such as time of employment and then add a note that the new employer should call you for further information. Always balance some bad with good - she did a good job when at work but you had attendance issues. That company is then fore-warned.

I was in the unfortunate position of being supplied with a reference for a bad employee given by another company under duress through ACAS negotiation. The basic reference looked OK and gave me the impression he was worth employing. Turns out the employee had been going through this motion for some time through several companies and abusing the Equality Act provisions at each employer. I stuck my neck out and refused to be blackmailed and ended up the tribunal court steps.

Tell the truth - Bad Employees need to be outed! They are a drain on our limited resources.
 
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maxine

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Oct 13, 2007
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Call me old fashioned but I thought the whole point of references was to find out information on the prospective employee with regard to making a decision a) to take them on and b) what support they need if you do take them on.

It's hard enough for small businesses to avoid or reduce the risk of employment mistakes that cost our business and our families money when employees are absent!

I would give a reference but it would be a factual one that simply said dates started and ended and number of absences. It's up to new employer to question further or support their new employee in line with what's needed. But, none of us are in business as a charity are we? Recruitment and training all cost money and the business loses money when people don't commit to their working hours.
 
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