Getting references from employers in settlement agreements

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Can I get a reference letter with a settlement agreement?

Yes, an agreed reference commonly forms part of the settlement agreement, but this is one of the things that’s often forgotten.

Some employers will only confirm dates of employment and duties, whereas others are willing to comment favourably on an employee. What is agreed will depend on the employer’s usual practice and the circumstances surrounding your departure.

There is no obligation on any employer to provide a reference and it is one of the advantages of settling a case that a reference can be agreed as part of the agreement. So, if your settlement agreement doesn’t have a specific clause dealing with references, then ask for one!

A good reference clause  will say something like “A reference will be provided upon written request in the form annexed to this agreement at Annex A”.

Then there will be an agreed reference attached to the back of the settlement agreement itself, headed “Annex A.”  (See our settlement agreement templates/examples where you can see how references are attached at the end.)

How can I ensure that only the agreed reference is provided?

To make  sure that only the agreed reference is provided, you can ask for the clause to say that requests for a telephone reference or a questionnaire will be refused and that any prospective employer will be told that only the written reference will be provided. This guards against an employer giving a bad reference on the phone or in a questionnaire.

Some settlement agreements will just state that a ‘standard reference’ will be provided upon request. This implies a very simple reference with just job title and dates of employment.

This is great because it’s not a can of worms where your employer could say something negative in the reference. And if a prospective employer contacts them and ask for more information, they can say that they only provide standard references.

Top Tips

Dippalli Naik
  • 1
    Don’t ask for a reference until the last minute
  • 2
    Just job title and dates of employment are fine
  • 3
    References come as standard with any settlement agreement

Next Steps

If you want to get a rough idea of the value of your case, find out by using our Settlement Agreements Calculator.

Also think about getting some legal representation. Monaco Solicitors’ specialist employment lawyers are all senior employment law solicitors who have years of experience of representing employees like you. Have a look at Monaco Solicitors’ reviews to see how we helped others in your situation on their journey.

020 7717 5259

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