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References: Reference giver's duty of care where employee left while suspected of dishonesty

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    Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd [2001] IRLR 448 CA (0 other reports)

In Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd [2001] IRLR 448, the Court of Appeal holds that an employer was, through one of its employees, in breach of its duty to take reasonable care to provide an accurate and fair reference for a former employee, who resigned before the employer had completed pending disciplinary proceedings involving investigations into allegations of misconduct. The employer had not been obliged to continue with the investigation in order to give a comprehensive report on the employee, but it ought to have taken reasonable care to confine unfavourable written and oral comments to those matters that had been investigated before he resigned and that provided reasonable grounds for statements about him. There was negligence in the reference giver's reliance on unexplored allegations of dishonest conduct attributed to the former employee and in his subsequent communication of those views to the former employee's new employers.