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Bad Reference

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by MineField, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    Dear Theo,

    I was the victim of work-place bullying in my previous school, so resigned from there, with no job to go to. I'm now feeling stronger and ready to go back to work, but after applying to supply agencies, I know that the reference from my most recent school is bad and contains a factual error. They have said in the reference that I was subject to disciplinary procedures (I haven't seen the reference, I was just told this by the supply agency), when I never was (and I have letter, from the Head, stating that I wasn't put on disciplinary procedures). The supply agencies don't seem bothered, and I've been accepted onto their books (apparently, they see this all the time these days!). However, I'm starting to see jobs advertised directly by schools that I'd like to apply for, and I can't decide whether to include a letter to explain the bad reference i.e get my side of the story in first, or whether I should put the application in as normal and then mention it at interview, if I get one? Or not mention it at all, and then deal with the fallout when the reference comes through - but then I might never find out if I lost out on a job purely due to the reference. From a Head teacher point of view, how would they perceive a candidate who added in an extra letter, which basically tries to explain away a bad reference? But on the other hand, how would they perceive a candidate, who'd seemed very strong at interview, but then a bad reference comes through, and nothing was mentioned about it by the candidate? But then I think, if I hadn't been given a heads-up by the supply agency, I wouldn't know, and I therefore wouldn't say anything, so maybe I shouldn't say anything? But, the Head told me he was going to write me a bad reference on the day I left, but at the time, I didn't know whether it was an empty threat (he liked threatening/scaring people). Therefore, even before the supply agency said anything, I did think the reference might be bad, so maybe I should say something. Aaargh!

    I've done a bit of research, and it seems that if I'm offered a job, and the job offer is pulled because of my reference, then it is only at that point that I can challenge the reference, and take them to court for loss of earnings (Do correct me if I'm wrong on that one). Obviously though, I'd rather just get a job, without all that hassle, and the worry of it weighs on my mind. The reference from the school I worked at prior to my most recent school is excellent, and that is what I use as my second reference
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear, I am so sorry that you have had this trouble! But I am glad that you are nonetheless getting supply work.

    Certainly that's the only time that you can try and collect money from them, but I don't see why you shouldn't challenge it before then.

    Get a copy from the supply agency - show them the letter proving that it's wrong, and say that you wish to challenge it, that's why you need the copy. Keep these two documents as they are precious.

    Then send this letter to the school, recorded delivery (or whatever it's called), but not to get there at the weekend when there's no-one there.

    Say in the accompanying letter something along these lines;

    I have received a copy of the reference written by you on (date) for the (name) supply agency.

    I am concerned that there would seem to be a factual error in this reference, since it states that I was subject to disciplinary proceedings, whereas your letter to me of the (date) states that I was not.

    I would be grateful if you could remedy this error with the (name) agency, and ensure that all further references written by you are fair and accurate.

    I am, at this stage, assuming that this misstatement of the facts was indeed an involuntary error on your part, despite your comment to me on the last day of my employment.

    I am informed that the legal requirement is for a reference to be fair and factually accurate. If, because of negligent misstatement by you (inclusion of inaccurate or omission of important information), I should suffer detriment , I may claim damages against you.

    Please confirm within five working days of receipt of this letter that you have indeed corrected the error in the reference already sent, and that you will be sending references in future when requested, and that these will be fair and accurate.

    Thank you.

    I have included the last bit because, of course, the Head could just refuse to send a reference.

    Best wishes

    roscros and marlin like this.
  3. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    Thank you, I shall try that. It's getting a copy of the reference out of the supply agency that's going to be the sticking point. When the reference issue came up, they said "Obviously we can't show you the reference, but I can disclose to you that the reference says you were subject to disciplinary procedures". I think I can request it as part of the Data Protection Act, and maybe they'll at least give me a copy of the disciplinary bit, since they've told me about that already.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  5. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    Just another question. What if, after I send the letter above, the school does refuse to send any more references? The Head is very vindictive, and I wouldn't put it past him.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

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