Agency Blacklist – Am I on an IT recruitment agency blacklist?

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Agency Blacklist of Contractors
Agency Blacklist of Contractors

Agency Blacklist for Contractors

‘Darken’ sent this to us wondering if she is on an agency blacklist for contractors.

For the first time in 2 years since I am contracting in England, I have been out of work for 2 weeks now.

Since I am not a very trustful person, I have decided that the best thing to do is take action.

Instead of sitting on my ass and waiting for the agency to call me, I would call around to see what’s out there.

Good Interview / Bad Reference

Well, I had an interview 2 days ago and everything looks as peachy as it gets. That’s except for the fact that they called me today to tell me that, although they are more than satisfied with my rates, skills and portfolio, they cannot give me the job. It seems that someone has given me a negative reference recently.

OK, this is officially not good news. So I went investigating, to find out that one of my previous agencies, after having a couple of money debates, (as in their margin being somewhere around 30%, me not knowing, client telling me) gave me a bad reference. As a result I seem to be now blacklisted.

Now, what can I do about it?

Reply by Dr McLaughlin

By law, people are not allowed to give you a bad reference. They can only refuse to give you a reference.

I think that it might be a good idea to point out to this agency. They are breaking the law. Tell them you may sue for loss of earnings for this lost job and any other job that you lose because of them in the future.

You may want to back this up with a solicitor’s letter if you are certain it is them. It shouldn’t cost that much.

No Official Agency Blacklist

There is no such thing as an official multi-agency blacklist. So you won’t have a problem with other agencies.

The agency may have contacted a previous employer, or more usually they have may have been in touch with someone that they know who worked on the same site as yourself.

I often got calls from agents saying “You worked at X, you must have known Y, was he or she any good”.

Reply by Reader Keyman

That would apply were you an employee, however as a contractor what they supplied was effectively a trade reference not an employment one so I don’t think you’ve got a hope.

Whilst being a contractor has many benefits protection against bad references etc is not one of them.

Reply by Captain P

I’m afraid that only applies for an employee. I have been on the other end of this, i.e. I refused to take an ex-employee from a sub-contractor. Believe me, the person concerned tried to follow this up.

We had a face to face shouting match. Well the person concerned shouted and used every threat in the book, followed by my patient explanation that employment law did not apply in this situation.

See also I Was Blacklisted by Project Manager.

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