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Unfair reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JodiP, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    But @ridleyrumpus we don't know if the prospective employer DID ask about the candidate's health. We only know that the school felt they had to explain their reluctance to say much in regard to the candidate's abilities!
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Personally I'd have said that asking about sickness absence is self evidently a question about health (and so prohibited by EA s60 (1)) but EHRC, the statutory enforcement agency for s60, guidance to employers that says that questions about sickness absence breach s60 (1).
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The OP's reference merely said that the impact couldn't be assessed due to a long term absence. Nothing at all about health/sickness.

    I am in total agreement that asking about health, disability, sickness, etc is prohibited. But there is nothing to suggest this has happened in the case of the OP.
    peapicker likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Or, indeed, as the OP's head has done and say it isn't possible to rate their performance because they haven't been there.

    Indulging the hypothetical situation a little more..
    The head starts in September and someone is off for most of the second half of the autumn term, then in January they are asked for a reference. What can the head possibly say?
    Or a member of staff moves to a new role in September, makes a great start, but is then off for much of the second half of the autumn term. What can the head say, apart from the impact of their work can't be measured due to absence?
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    In your first case, if the teacher has been there longer, the head asks someone else for help in writing the reference. I have had a reference supplied by "the head of my most recent school", even though he started there after I left. In the second, comment can presumably be made on their performance in their previous role.

    On the other hand, suppose you're appointed to a two term fixed contract and break your leg badly shortly after starting. You'll probably need to apply for jobs before being back in school. I suspect in that case, it would probably be best if the reference explained the reason for not being able to say more!
  6. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I had a reply from my union

    They (an employer) can disclose general absence data – however if the absence is disability (or protected characteristic) related then it should not be included in the absence data for a reference. The reason being is that if they do not offer a candidate a job based on high levels of disability related absence, they are potentially discriminating.

    On the same note, neither could the employer provide overall absence data, I.e. 36 days, but then state that 32 days were disability related, as this would be disclosing that the candidate is disabled and they have no right to do so."

    Seems sensible to me. Though an employer would I think have to be careful in any case.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I agree that it seems very sensible. Whether this is what the law says I can't say, although it probably is what the law ought to say.
  8. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    A prospective employer can reasonably ask for information about absence not related to disability.
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I really doubt it. They cannot ask about health, and asking about absence seems very similar to me.
  10. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    Where is the evidence for this? I was under the impression that an employer can ask any question they like if it's a job offer? I think it's unfair for employers to make judgements on people for any absence but that seems to be the case.

    You say you find this doubtful but how is it actually doubtful?
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sooo in the OP's case their head has done nothing wrong.
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Answered here. Click on the link.
    peapicker likes this.
  13. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    I dont understand how this thread is helping anyone to be honest. Especially the OP. Despite what you say people can and do loose jobs due to absence. Whether rightly or wrongly. If more employers preached equality and gave people a chance to prove themselves the world would be a better place but obviously not.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    If employers are aware of the Equality Act, why is the question still posed on reference requests. Why is the question being answered at all.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    What could long term absence be for other than sickness? Anyway reference requests that I see that ask for reasons for absence.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That isn't the law though.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    About health. The wording of EA 2010 s 60 (1) has been posted several times, it refers to health not disability and applies to any job applicant.
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  19. serenitypolly41

    serenitypolly41 Occasional commenter

    Sorry? Where are we going with this? How is this actually helping anyone?

    Is this thread helping the OP?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  20. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I've no idea how helpful OP finds your posts. You could ask him/her if it concerns you. But if you keep asking the same questions or making the same observations you will keep getting the same answers.
    Piranha likes this.

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