| Commentary

B. True, accurate and fair

| Commentary

B.     True, accurate and fair

The modern approach is to apply a 'true, accurate and fair' test (taken from defamation law), as can be seen from one of the leading cases (involving the difficult question of whether to mention unresolved disciplinary matters), namely Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney [1999] IRLR 246, CA.

'The employee concerned had been suspended on allegations of financial irregularities. A claim of race discrimination was made and settled on terms which involved the termination of the disciplinary proceedings. When the applicant applied for another job the former employers gave a reference which stated that he had taken voluntary severance whilst suspended for alleged gross misconduct; the charges had lapsed on his departure. When the job offer in respect of which the reference was requested was withdrawn the former employee sued the council for damages for negligence. The claim was unsuccessful. The reference must be in substance, true, accurate and fair and must not give a misleading impression but, it was said, does not always have to be full and comprehensive. In the instant case the statements were held to be true and were not, taken as a whole, inaccurate or misleading. To have failed to have

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