I have worked for the same company for nearly nine years and since returning from MAT leave I have worked part time. They have been difficult employers and during one of my battles with them I was verbally reminded that I did not in fact have a contract at all. On returning from MAT leave I was never given a new contract reflecting my part-time status or a letter outlining my new working hours and new pro rata salary. To be honest it never crossed my mind. Now finally a fantastic job opportunity has arisen. So, two questions. As I don’t have a contract how much notice do I give? Now to add to this my boss is really quite vindictive – he would think nothing of giving me a bad reference or refusing to give a reference at all. What is the legal requirement around references?
If you do not have a contract of employment, then you only have to give 1 week’s notice. In terms of giving a reference, an employer can not give a misleading or negligent reference. If they do, then you can sue them for the damage caused. If they normally give a reference, but purposely decline to give a reference in your case, then again this can give rise to a claim against your employer. Practically, it is probably best to try and leave on good terms and ensure you have someone at the company who can give you a good reference.
Sarah Calderwood helped with this answer.