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References (where not provided) policy

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Our References (where not provided) Policy respects privacy, avoids liability, and maintains impartiality when handling reference requests.

Reading time
How long to understand and implement this policy?
5 mins
Word count
How many words in this policy?
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What is a References (where not provided) policy?

The purpose of this policy is to establish a clear and consistent approach within the company regarding the provision of references for current and former employees.

It outlines that the company will not provide detailed references, assessments, or opinions about individual employees' performance, behavior, or character to external parties. Instead, the policy focuses on verifying basic employment details, protecting employee confidentiality, and encouraging employees to use personal references or an employment verification letter for personal or career purposes. The policy ensures compliance with data protection and confidentiality regulations and guides the recruitment process to use comprehensive evaluation methods when assessing candidates.

By implementing this policy, the company safeguards sensitive employee information and maintains a fair and impartial approach to handling reference requests.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this policy be issued?
During onboarding / after changes / planned refresher
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this policy, and to whom?
Internally issued to appropriate recipients in your Company
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this policy be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

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

United Kingdom
  • Data Protection Act 2018: Ensures that employee data, including references and personal information, is handled securely and in compliance with data protection regulations.

  • Equality Act 2010: Prohibits discrimination and ensures fair treatment when providing references or verification information for current and former employees.

  • Employment Rights Act 1996: Provides guidelines on what information can be disclosed in references and the employee's right to access their employment records.

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Sets out specific requirements for the lawful processing of personal data, including employee references.

  • Common Law: Imposes a duty of care on employers when providing references, ensuring they are truthful, accurate, and fair.

  • Defamation Act 2013: Protects the company from potential liability in providing references that could be defamatory or damaging to an individual's reputation.

Other territories

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

References (where not provided) Policy


This policy is designed to assist employees who receive a reference request for a former or current employee.


This policy is applicable to all employees of [Company].

General principles

[Company] operates a strict policy of not providing written or verbal references for current or former employees.

Employees must not depart from this policy and any reference request should be passed to the [employee's manager, or, in his/her absence, a senior manager] who will write to the prospective employer explaining that it is [Company]'s policy not to provide references.

This policy [does not] form[s] part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Version: [1.0]

Issue date: [date]

Author: [name, job title]

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References (where not provided) policy
references (where not provided) policy