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be careful what you say about former employees

9 May 2011

Employers have long been liable to employees for financial loss caused by an inaccurate reference. In McKie v Swindon College the High Court has extended the principle beyond the giving of a reference.

His new job at Bath City College brought Mr McKie in to contact with his former employer, Swindon College. Swindon gave him a glowing reference when he left in 2002 but in 2008 Swindon’s HR manager wrote an email to his opposite number at Bath saying they wouldn’t accept Mr McKie on their premises as there were safeguarding concerns about him.

The Court described the email as “largely fallacious and untrue.” Bath summarily dismissed Mr McKie as a result of the email and, as a result of the court’s decision, will be able to recover his financial loss from Swindon.

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