It is common for employers, as part of the recruitment process, to seek job references from the successful applicant’s current employer and one or more former employers. While employers are generally under no legal obligation to provide a reference, if they do so, they need to ensure that what they say is factual, accurate and not misleading, otherwise they may risk legal proceedings being taken against them. Employers are also subject to duties under the Data Protection Act 2018 with regard to the storage of references, how they are used and when they must be disclosed.

Medical information sought and obtained for recruitment purposes is also affected by the provisions of the DPA and such information must be treated in strict confidence. Requirements for job applicants to undergo a medical check (or complete a medical questionnaire) are also governed by the Equality Act 2010.

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