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Old 03.02.2012, 18:48
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Good reference by law?!

I've seen this mentioned a few time on EF- that employers HAVE TO give a good reference by law? Just don't get this - it makes a mockery of a reference surely. Doesn't it totally devalue the system, and don't employers and prospective employers find roundabout ways to find to eek out what's what?
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Old 03.02.2012, 19:40
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Re: Good reference by law?!

On my reference letters I sometimes wrote that "Susie (Bobby, whatever) is certain to do as good a job for your company as he/she did for mine"... Read that as you like.
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Old 03.02.2012, 19:42
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Re: Good reference by law?!

True, but since an employer can get shut of someone very easily, does it really matter???

I've been here over 20 years and I held 4 o5 jobs as a professional/manager and I've never bothered with references... when asked for references at the offer stage I've just said sorry I don't have any, I got a few strange looks from HR types but it never stopped me getting the job.
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Old 03.02.2012, 19:51
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Re: Good reference by law?!

Quote:
I've seen this mentioned a few time on EF- that employers HAVE TO give a good reference by law? Just don't get this - it makes a mockery of a reference surely. Doesn't it totally devalue the system, and don't employers and prospective employers find roundabout ways to find to eek out what's what?
That is a bit of a misconception actually. References have to be phrased in a "wohlwollend" or "bienveillante" = benevolent/sympathethic way. That does not mean that the reference has to be "good" per se.
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Old 03.02.2012, 19:53
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Re: Good reference by law?!

Quote:
I've seen this mentioned a few time on EF- that employers HAVE TO give a good reference by law? Just don't get this - it makes a mockery of a reference surely. Doesn't it totally devalue the system, and don't employers and prospective employers find roundabout ways to find to eek out what's what?
If someone has worked for a company for several years the company 'MUST HAVE BEEN TOTALLY HAPPY', otherwise they would not have employed them for so long. This is the reason that 'coding' exists, the employer has to be possitive, he cant write 'The lazy xanker worked for us for 10 years & never suceeded in anything he did & is totally untrustworthy? I would for several people I have worked worked here!

Unemployment insurance will have a lot to do with it too, a bad reference means max payout followed by social help, that's never goint to run here now is it!

Remember Switzerland is about compromise, remind me why the capital is Bern, I think you get the idea!

BTW you can go to court 'free of charge' to get your reference improved..........which is why they will write a reasonable one & will improve it as required, in the end they have little choice.
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Old 03.02.2012, 19:58
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Re: Good reference by law?!

I always thought that the reference needed to be honest.

I've always hoped that someone would not agree to be a reference if they could not provide a good one, though one of my past supervisors has made me question that when she specified that she would, and it that it would be a good one.
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Old 03.02.2012, 20:08
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Re: Good reference by law?!

I think you will find it is more a case of employers not wanting to give a bad reference for fear of the consequences, certainly that is the case here in England. Ex employees have successfully claimed against ex employers for giving bad references which have turned out to be unproven. You may know that an ex employee is lazy, has poor timekeeping, is unreliable etc. etc. but unless you, as a manager, have documented this meticulously and have corroboration as well to support this, it is easy to say but difficult to evidence if challenged. References are effectively worthless thesedays due to this, certainly from ex employers.
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Old 03.02.2012, 20:13
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Re: Good reference by law?!

I know 20 years ago an entire team got poached from Goldman Sachs, GS refused to give references for any of the team, which caused a problem for the new employer with insurance against fraud from employees etc. In CH they would have to of given a reference.

The only consequence of a bad reference in CH is that they have to rewrite it if asked, if the ex employee showed it to anyone, well that would be their lookout!
If you were sacked for stealing then they could mention it & the employee could do little about it as long as the rest was possitive. As Swiss companies like confidentiality they are unlikely to admit they got ripped off by an employee!
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Old 03.02.2012, 20:32
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Re: Good reference by law?!

It's not that they have to give a good reference, it is that they have to give one that doesn't hurt the ex employee in his or her job search (I remember the French text saying something about "nuire" not anything about it being good)

It's a catch 22 because employers can't call out a crap employee
at the same time, my experience has been that the only companies who give out highly coded references are the ones nobody wants to work for. And in decent companies, if an employee is really crap, they usually get a glowing reference letter. If I worked in HR in CH, the weighting I would give to certificates would be that I want the most neutral ones.

My first reference letter was so full of codes it could have been in Chinese. It has comic value now.
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Old 03.02.2012, 20:35
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Re: Good reference by law?!

There is a whole range of 'double meanings' to be used in references. I don't know if they are actually used, but they do give me food for thought.
in German. Not to be taken too seriously ones in English.

I think we can be pretty sure that there is at least a grain of truth in it all.
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Old 03.02.2012, 21:19
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Re: Good reference by law?!

Well, my long lost one of 22 years ago was very positive, other than that my comportment towards my superiors was "correct"!

Ironically, I've had the same "superior" (who didn't write my zuegnis) for 30 years, though for most of that time we've been equal (also financially, but on paper he's my boss), but alas they brought in "management" types, that to me were not worth wiping my shoes on, and I let them know it (22 years ago in ZH).

Of course, I just started the hole in the dike, and we had 10+ kicking in for the Abschiedsfest by the time we held it!

Tom
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