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FAQ
Frequently asked Questions - Employment Law
Can I Leave without giving proper notice?
Must My employer give me a reference?

Can I Leave without giving proper notice?
A question which sometimes arises is "What happens if I leave my employment without giving the contractual notice"
Your contract of employment is just that, a contract. In that contract the employee will usually agree to give a certain period of notice before leaving. To leave without that notice is to breake the contract.
If the employer suffers loss because of that breach, then he can sue for damages in the county court. Such actions are unusual, because the employer's damages are usually quite small. The bulk of the expense in taking somebody new on is in the recruitment and training, but that would have to be expended in any event, and even if the employee left properly. The employer also saves through not having to pay the wages during the period until a new employee is taken on.
The employer can suffer additional expense where he has to buy in other workers, perhaps on overtime basis, or faces additional costs for the employment of temporary staff.
Depending upon the nature of the employment, there might always be other losses which the employer could claim for.
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Must My employer give me a reference?
An employer is not under a general duty to give you a reference. Since he need not give one at all, he can also control the terms under which it is given. For example, the reference need not be complete, and he may impose restrictions on its use, for example by making it clear that it is confidential to the new employer and may not be shown to the employee. However, if he does give you one, he has a duty not to provide one which is factually incorrect, or misleading. An employer giving a reference can come to be liable either to the employee, or indeed the future employer.
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Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 http://www.swarb.co.uk/lawb/empFAQ.shtml 382 18 October 2013