Ontario Court Backs Employer Over Bad Reference

By July 24, 2018Employers Articles


In recent years, and in growing numbers, we’re finding that companies are reluctant to provide References on former employees. In fact, it’s become common that all we’re able to gather is confirmation of employment and job function. Which does little to support the former employee’s candidacy for hire elsewhere. We’ve heard that the “no Reference” policy is a result of The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Or because company officials fear litigation over a “bad Reference”.

In any event, our efforts to validate candidates’ experiences and contributions to former employers is hampered by the lack of supportive Reference Research. While the absence of Reference Research isn’t, by and of itself, as negative as a “bad Reference”. The issue becomes the absence of a “good Reference”. Without previous employer support for the skills, experiences and contributions displayed by candidates in interviews, potential employers become increasingly concerned about risking a bad hire.

The flip side of this issue is, of course, that the absence of a bad Reference absolutely increases the odds of a bad hire. Ironically, we had a client years ago that insisted on three supportive References to consider a candidate for hire. Yet would not provide References on former employees during a staged layoff and factory windup!

We came across these articles that confirm that employers are cleared to provide critical Reference comments. IF the information and opinions are factual, backed up by documentation, and not provided to “needlessly, recklessly, or maliciously badmouth former employees. Ultimately, sabotaging their chances of gaining new employment. Above all, employers must be honest in their references. Regardless of whether their comments are positive or negative.”

So, companies can be confident that they are protected when offering a critical or bad Reference when supported by documentation. The fear of litigation is removed which should free them to speak to the record when we call to gather Reference Research. We’ll be able to help former employees gain employment and, when we get a bad Reference, save our clients unnecessary complication from a bad hire that could have been prevented.

Enjoy the Article! ~ Jim Fairfax

Ontario Court Backs Employer Over Bad Reference

~ Michael MacLellan, HRM Canada

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