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Beth

Absolutely fuming.

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So as many of you know, I've been looking for work since relocating to Melbourne in September last year and it hasn't been easy for me. This week I was offered 2 different jobs, and I opted to take the lesser paying job for the sake of a good culture and a more enjoyable position with less stress.

As the role is with a bank, I have to go through what is called Probity checks, which basically involves an extensive background check of your rental/living history and your employment.

 

Today I was advised that my previous employer of 2 years has refused to give a reference.

Because I was with the company for so long, and prior to that I was out of the country, I am basically screwed.

I'm absolutely gutted and angry, as the standard of my work was excellent to say the least, and my clients adored me.

Two years with this company and they're blocking me from getting the job that I want.

 

My check has to be 2 former superiors, not allowed to be co-workers or colleagues.

I have a boss in Canada who is always happy to give me a reference, but I need one from my previous employer to be able to work with NAB.

 

Any advice is much appreciated.

If I can't get this, I'm right back where I started.

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No advice, just want to say how much it sucks! Can you contact your ex-superior directly and confront them? I suppose its not really burning bridges since they arent giving you a reference anyway. Was it an 'amicable' split when you left?

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As far as I know, they were very appreciative of my time there. I had a farewell party and was never under any impression that a reference would not be provided for my time there.

I gave them 6 weeks notice prior to leaving and the standard of my work was highly regarded by my clients, so I'm really not sure what the problem is.

I always suspected he didn't like me, but he's actually potentially messing with my future here. I'm devastated.

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I would contact your old boss and ask him directly. Is there a chance they contacted the wrong person, and not your direct supervisor?

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No, they spoke with him. I spoke to the people conducting the check to make sure. He directly declined. He is the Managing Director and owner at the company. It's a small business, there is only one other person who could provide reference for me. I have contacted her and am waiting for her reply.

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My former principal - I am a teacher - gave me a less than complimentary reference. I wasn't supposed to see it, but I did - and I would say no reference is better than that one she gave. I knew she didn't like me, but to stop me teaching all together? It isn't fair. I have been unemployed for 1.5 years now, all because of her....

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Im not a 100% sure on this, but all they need to do is confirm that you did work there, what your job was, how long you worked there and your reason for leaving. Employers have to be very careful as if they say something negative and a person cant get employment because of it, they can be sued for negligence.  I think this is because the reference is between the two employers and you have no avenue for defending the claims, or resolving the issues. Some companies will refuse to give the types of references you have described - they will only confirm facts.

 

My advice -  write a letter (recorded delivery) to your former employer stating that you politely request that they confirm facts about your employment with potential employers, for the purpose for obtaining employment. That if they then refuse to do this, you may have recourse to take some action either with fair work or legal channels (a threatening letter to the company GM normally sorts that out) for preventing you from gaining employment.

 

You might need to explain to your new employer that you are not providing them with a "character reference" from your last job, unless they would accept it from another person who you worked with. And let them know that  - if your old company sorts themselves out - they will provide them with a professional reference on your employment only.

 

Facts you would want them to confirm:

 

  • Confirm who you are
  • Position within the company - roles and responsibilities
  • How many years you had that position and any promotions
  • Employment start date
  • Leaving date
  • Reason for leaving - did you give notice or were you fired.

 

That alone allows for new employers to read between the lines without a character reference and to be honest - any employer that wont even confirm these things is embarrassing themselves and showing a high level of unprofessionalism. You could use that in appealing to your new employer.

 

I hope you get it all sorted out :)

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Wow, Krees, I'm sorry to hear that!

Jaxy, thank you for the help, that is hugely helpful information. I am currently following up my former boss in Canada who will not only confirm my details but rave about me, so with any luck I should get by. I'm just so, so angry.

I am looking to take legal action if this negatively affects my employment, because the business is guilty of a number of things, Sham contracts being one of them. I was often paid up to 8 days late and was given serious grief for taking 3 leave days and one sick day when my brother passed away.

 

Luckily I have 2 former employers/supervisors who have contacted me on Facebook to say they're willing to provide a glowing reference for me. So fingers crossed!!

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Same thing happened to me Beth. My former employer was away at the time and refused to give a reference. Bad that I didn't get the job but karma was a bitch. Now very much under adminstrators watchful eye and on the verge of bankruptcy.

 

I fought back and got that reference but via the back door. Yes he was the boss but not my immediate supervisor. My immediate supervisor went out of his way to help me.

 

Some people are just not nice.

 

I second everything Jaxy has said. They only need confirmation.

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Wow, Krees, I'm sorry to hear that!

Jaxy, thank you for the help, that is hugely helpful information. I am currently following up my former boss in Canada who will not only confirm my details but rave about me, so with any luck I should get by. I'm just so, so angry.

I am looking to take legal action if this negatively affects my employment, because the business is guilty of a number of things, Sham contracts being one of them. I was often paid up to 8 days late and was given serious grief for taking 3 leave days and one sick day when my brother passed away.

 

Luckily I have 2 former employers/supervisors who have contacted me on Facebook to say they're willing to provide a glowing reference for me. So fingers crossed!!

Oh the tax office would have them for sham contracts! If they claimed someone was a contractor, but actually had an employee relationship with them (and you can still have this for tax purposes, even if the person is an independent contractor) then they could be up for super-contributions, payroll tax, and fines. Not to mention workers comp insurance requirements etc etc. And....if you are an employee they MUST pay you on time.

 

Some people should never be allowed to manage anything other than wiping their arse!

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Beth,

Was the job you accepted through a recruitment firm or through the employer directly? Either way it is a large enough company that they should have an extensive HR team. The HR team should be able to help you to know what your rights are and to perhaps explain to your former employer what his responsibilities actually are.

Best of luck and remember why you are going for the job that makes you happy as opposed to the one that pays the most. It is so you can get away from mean little men who try and disrupt your life. Work is work, but if you can find a place where you find happiness and job satisfaction you will be much better off in the long run.

Best of luck and let us know how it goes.

Shelle.

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My former principal - I am a teacher - gave me a less than complimentary reference. I wasn't supposed to see it, but I did - and I would say no reference is better than that one she gave. I knew she didn't like me, but to stop me teaching all together? It isn't fair. I have been unemployed for 1.5 years now, all because of her....

You have grounds to personally sue your former employer, based on her reference.

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Contact FairWork Australia for advice on this. There are very strict rules now about references that mostly all favour the employees.

 

They (the company) can decline saying its company policy but would then have to prove they never ever give anyone a reference.

 

As far as I am aware, to justify a poor reference, they need to show a written history that the person received written warnings, was sent for counselling etc.

 

The system is on your side :) because Governments do not like high unemployment stats. Half an hour with a solicitor would also sort things for you legally.

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The late pay was 'always my fault' according to my boss. He would claim he never received my invoice, even though I cc'd myself in on every single invoice I sent, and my pay was always the same amount, and supposed to be paid on the 1st of every month. He never made sure it was paid prior to public holidays, and at one point basically told one employee who challenged being a 'contractor' "that's how __company__ works and if you don't like it, you can go elsewhere." Which is basically threatening the person's job security.

 

Shell the job was just one I got on my own, no recruiter involved. Should it present an issue I will definitely be taking it to fair work Australia.

Basically he hires people as 'independent contractors' but gave them 'paid leave' and expected us to work outside of normal hours with no additional pay. For the first 6 months of my time there he wasn't paying my super, either.

 

The law says he doesn't have to give me a reference. But if I find out he's blocking my other superior from providing a reference, I can take them to court, unless they can prove they've never provided references to any employees, which I know isn't true, and if that was a condition of my employment, they should have clearly stated that no reference would ever be provided.

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I'm sorry for the pickle you find yourself in. Not only losing a job opportunity but wondering how you will get your next job. I had never been fired and always asked for a reference before I left any job. Some govt depts won't give you a reference but generally you can nominate a referee- someone who knows your work and work ethic and can give you a positive report.

The other word of caution I 'd give is to never slag your boss on Facebook or other social media- no matter how much of a pig you may think they are. Potential employers do read this stuff and it could suddenly put a no to a job you may otherwise have got.

Best of luck in finding something soon.

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Potential employers have absolutely no access to my Facebook content other than my profile images and any posts that I choose to make public, so that doesn't concern me at all. I have very strict privacy settings in place due to the attention around my brother's life.

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I'm sorry Beth, that's so unfair - hopefully things will sort themselves out.  Best of luck x daf

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Bummer! Is NAB being cooperative for you? I work there! (in QLD) I had issues with my previous employer-we didn't ge on, and they were helpful for me....when I eventually asked my new manager what the previous boss said the said it was unflattering but the didn't take it into consideration anyway....hope it works out for you! Trix x

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hugs Beth. What a crappy crappy situation. Jaxy's post below seems pretty on track but I hope the other supervisor can give you one.

 

Im not a 100% sure on this, but all they need to do is confirm that you did work there, what your job was, how long you worked there and your reason for leaving. Employers have to be very careful as if they say something negative and a person cant get employment because of it, they can be sued for negligence.  I think this is because the reference is between the two employers and you have no avenue for defending the claims, or resolving the issues. Some companies will refuse to give the types of references you have described - they will only confirm facts.

 

My advice -  write a letter (recorded delivery) to your former employer stating that you politely request that they confirm facts about your employment with potential employers, for the purpose for obtaining employment. That if they then refuse to do this, you may have recourse to take some action either with fair work or legal channels (a threatening letter to the company GM normally sorts that out) for preventing you from gaining employment.

 

You might need to explain to your new employer that you are not providing them with a "character reference" from your last job, unless they would accept it from another person who you worked with. And let them know that  - if your old company sorts themselves out - they will provide them with a professional reference on your employment only.

 

Facts you would want them to confirm:

 

  • Confirm who you are
  • Position within the company - roles and responsibilities
  • How many years you had that position and any promotions
  • Employment start date
  • Leaving date
  • Reason for leaving - did you give notice or were you fired.

 

That alone allows for new employers to read between the lines without a character reference and to be honest - any employer that wont even confirm these things is embarrassing themselves and showing a high level of unprofessionalism. You could use that in appealing to your new employer.

 

I hope you get it all sorted out :)

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I woke up today with an inbox full of support from my previous bosses in Canada and Adelaide, so with their amazing references I believe everything should work out in my favour! I still have no idea whether my previous Manager from Perth will supply reference, we had a very good relationship so I believe she will, but that will depend on whether my Perth boss has told her she can't give a reference. Legally they don't have to, in case something they say costs me the job and I take them to court for misleading information or whatever, but I'm still rather upset that after 2 years, I don't even get a 'yes, she was here for 2 years, no she didn't steal anything' from them!

It's not like I had other employers during that 2 years that I could ask for references from, so it's frustrating that all my references were from early 2010 or earlier. That doesn't look great.

 

I will keep you posted on how I go, my Canada boss is amazing and has given me such great references in the past, I'm hoping they will just choose to believe that the Perth company didn't offer reference for company policy, or something along those lines.

 

I now have to consider if I take action against my former employer... I have past employees from the same company who are encouraging me to do so and have said that they will back me in legal action should I choose to take it. Not even mentioning the fact that they still have my album as their hold music... and don't pay a cent for it...

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Hope it all works out for you hun. Some people just don't get it, do they? I cant believe anyone would be so mean spirited to refuse to give a reference for someone who worked for them and not consider the effect that may have on someones life. That said, it would be worthwhile and in your interest (and theirs) to get it sorted if you can. Wishing you all the best. S

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Well I've gone from absolutely fuming to absolutely laughing today. Got a call from another company that I had applied for work with, the role I had applied for didn't actually interest me, and I hadn't heard from them after 2 interviews, so I was a bit grumpy and didn't think I'd got the job, which was fine, but they could at least have told me that!

Turns out.. no, I hadn't got THAT job, but they wanted to create a new role for me based on my previous experience with jerky Perth company, and the ironic part is, my boss who refused to give me the reference would technically have to answer to ME in this job, which is pretty hilarious!

Plus they're offering an excellent wage, which is slightly higher than the engineering firm job I turned down earlier this week.

 

SO.

Now I have the choice AGAIN between two jobs... and just quietly, if all the conditions are met in my offer (which I will receive next Thursday...) I will be taking this new job offer over NAB.

Isn't life funny!?

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