New Acas Guidance on Employment References

A reference is usually an important part of the job application process. It is an opportunity for the employer to find out vital information about the applicant and ensure they are the right fit for the job.

Employers must ensure that the references they provide are handled consistently and that they are fair and accurate.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides free and impartial information to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law; their codes of practice are considered best practice and should be followed by both.

The new guidance on employment references published by Acas covers;

  • The kinds of information an employment reference can include, such as employment dates, job descriptions, character references and skills.
  • Previous employers can usually choose whether or not to supply a reference and also the amount of information they wish to provide.
  • Whether a previous employer can give a bad reference and what this can mean for the applicant.
  • The ways in which applicants can resolve problems with references.


For more information on Acas’ new guidance, visit:


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