Breaking a promise can be costly decision (On law)

There is no obligation to provide a reference letter to a former employee, unless you’ve promised one
By Natalie C. MacDonald
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2006

When it comes to providing reference letters for former employees, many employers get cold feet. The reason for concern may vary from breaching human rights legislation to being sued by the former employee for libel or slander should something negative be written or said. There are also concerns about being sued by the new employer for negligent misrepresentation for failure to mention any negative qualities or traits of the former employee.

In short, reference letters can pose a major headache for employers. While there is no legal obligation on the part of the employer to provide a letter of reference to a former employee, failure to do so may result in increased damages, as a recent case illustrates.