An IT manager is suing Perot Systems, the company founded by Ross Perot, for giving him a bad reference that cost him his new job. He had started with Deutsche Bank, but was sacked a month later after a really bad reference arrived from Perot Systems.
Michael Johnson is suing Perot Systems for £10 million, and is naming the guy who gave him the bad reference, Simon Hull, as the second defendant in the case. Johnson is 52 years of age and has worked in IT all his life. The £10 million is based on a mooted ten years worth of lost wages, as he would obviously find it difficult to find another job.
Originally, Michael Johnson knew nothing about the reference. He originally sued Deutsche Bank for sacking him a month into his job. However, he lost his case at the Employment Tribunal because it was ruled that Deutsche Bank were right to sack him after the reference that they received – and that‘s how he found out about the reference.
According to the reference, working with Mr. Johnson was ‘the most horrendous experience in my working life’, and brought into question ‘serious compliance issues’, as regards Mr. Johnson‘s share dealings. The reference also said that he was technically incompetent.
The reference also claimed that Michael Johnson had been sacked from a bank after he left Perot Systems because he obtained a mortgage from the bank fraudulently.
Are Bad References Legal?
Many contractors and permanent employees probably have heard that it is illegal to give a bad reference; that you can only give a good reference, or refuse to give one. However it is not known whether this is legal or not.
There are no known cases testing whether this is true or not.
This court case will be a good test of it.
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