Reference Letter definition

Reference letters are provided by employers to ex-employees during the application process for a new position. Some employers provide offers of employment on the basis of good references being received – if the references are not satisfactory the company can void the offer.

In a few countries, including Germany and Austria, employees are legally entitled to receive an employment reference letter that is objective, providing a broad overview of the individual’s strengths and qualities.

In response to fears over legal action over negative references, employers are increasingly providing only basic facts in job references such as dates of employment, salary and job responsibilities.