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Response to reference request letter

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Our Response to Reference Request Letter Template ensures prompt, accurate, and professional responses to reference requests, streamlining the process.

If you wish to respond to a reference request for an ex-employee from their new employer, issue this model template.

Reading time
How long to understand and implement this letter?
10 mins
Word count
How many words in this letter?
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What is a Response to reference request letter?

A response to a reference request letter is a formal document that provides truthful information about an ex-employee's work history, job responsibilities, and performance. It helps the new employer make an informed hiring decision, and employers must ensure accuracy and adherence to a clear reference policy.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this letter be issued?
As soon as possible after the request is received
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this letter, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Company (you)
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this letter be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

How can I ensure that this letteris executed effectively?

Step Description Responsibility Timing
1 Receive reference request from the new employer HR or Supervisor Upon receipt of request
2 Verify ex-employee's details and employment history HR 1-2 business days
3 Collect information on ex-employee's performance & responsibilities HR or Supervisor 3-5 business days
4 Draft the response to the reference request letter HR 1-2 business days
5 Review and approve the response before sending HR Manager or Supervisor 1-2 business days

What legislation and best practice guidelines have been taken into account in the development of this template?

United Kingdom

In the UK, you are not legally required to respond to a reference request from an ex-employee's new employer, unless there is a contractual obligation to do so. However, refusing to provide a reference could potentially result in a negative inference being drawn about the ex-employee, which could result in a claim for discrimination or breach of contract.

In addition, the ex-employee may have a right to access the reference under data protection laws, so you should ensure that any reference provided is accurate, truthful and not misleading. If you decide not to provide a reference, you should consider informing the ex-employee in writing, providing reasons for your decision.

If you respond to a reference request you must consider the following:

  1. Duty of Care: You have a duty of care to provide a reference that is accurate, truthful and not misleading. You should ensure that the information provided in the reference is fair, factual and objective.

  2. Data Protection: You are also required to comply with data protection laws when providing a reference. This means that you should obtain the consent of the ex-employee before providing any personal data to the new employer. You should also ensure that the reference does not include any sensitive personal data, such as medical information or details about their religion or ethnicity.

  3. Discrimination: You must ensure that the reference does not contain any discriminatory language or information. This includes avoiding references to age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or any other protected characteristic.

  4. Liability: You could be liable for any losses incurred by the new employer if you provide a reference that is inaccurate or misleading. This means that you should take care when providing a reference and ensure that the information is based on facts and not opinion.

  5. Equality Act: The Equality Act 2010 prohibits victimization of an employee who has made a complaint under the Act. This includes complaints of discrimination, harassment or victimisation on grounds of any of the nine protected characteristics. You should ensure that the reference does not contain anything that could be interpreted as victimisation.

Other territories

Consult your jurisdiction's employment legislation or labor laws to ensure compliance with the template. Review the language for local precision.

Response to reference request [Delete this line]

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Reference for [name][, [NI number (if known)]

Thank you for your recent request for a reference for [Name of the ex-employee]. I am happy to provide you with information regarding their employment with our company.

[Name of the ex-employee] worked for our company from [Start Date] to [End Date]. During their time with us, they held the position of [Job Title]


Their main responsibilities included [Brief Description of Job Responsibilities].

Throughout their employment, [Name of the ex-employee] was a dedicated and hardworking member of the team. They consistently met or exceeded performance targets, and demonstrated excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They also showed great attention to detail and an ability to work well under pressure.

I am confident that [Name of the ex-employee] would be an asset to any organization they join and I am pleased to recommend them without hesitation.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.


This company has a policy of issuing brief, standardised reports in response to all employment reference requests. This report is used for all employees. The lack of any further information should not be interpreted as either a favourable or unfavourable reference.

[We would [not] re-employ [name].]

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours [faithfully | sincerely],



[Sender name]

[Sender job title]

[Sender telephone]
[Sender email]

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In which communication or process sequence does this template belong?

Previous step
Reference request letter template

If you are recruiting a new employee and wish to request a reference from a previous employer, send this this model letter template to request confirmation of their employment.

This step
Response to reference request letter template
Next step
Acknowledgement of reference received letter template

This document is used where the Company wishes to acknowledge receipt of a reference given by another Company or individual, concerning a new joiner.

Response to reference request letter
response to reference request letter