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    Denied job due to bad reference from previous employer & undisclosed (irrelevant) medical condition

    Hi All

    I am posting on behalf of my brother who was told today, after the third and final interview, that they only reason they were not going to take him on was because his previous employer gave him a very bad reference and also told them that he suffered from depression and anxiety (which my brother disclosed to his previous employer in confidence) and also that he smoked.

    As far as I am aware you cannot give a bad reference and the worst you can, or should do, is say that he worked there between two dates and refuse to say anything else if you cannot say anything good. Also, I would think that disclosing a medical condition to the potential new employer by the previous employer would also be illegal.

    Finally, the fact that he smokes should not be a factor should it?

    My brother has suffered from depression and anxiety most of his life, however his depression has been in check for the last few years due to good medication. His anxiety has caused issues at times, especially during his last job due to how he was treated by his previous employer (another story with much more detail if it is relevant). However, he has been on new medication for his anxiety which has now been in check for the last four to five months. I am sure this is irrelevant, however I just needed to explain as I am sure this would not have affected his performance at all.

    The smoking is a mute point as that should not affect his chances of a job, as well as the fact that we have both decided to stop smoking and already have our prescriptions for Champix to help us quit, which we were due to start next week after the festive season came to a close.

    My question, does my brother have a case here at all? Either against his previous employer or the one that denied him the job because of this.

    I really appreciate any help that anyone can give with this matter.

    Regards
    Leon

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    I am posting on behalf of my brother who was told today, after the third and final interview, that they only reason they were not going to take him on was because his previous employer gave him a very bad reference and also told them that he suffered from depression and anxiety (which my brother disclosed to his previous employer in confidence) and also that he smoked.
    Yes it is not right.
    But

    What was the bad reference ?
    Smoking is not supposed to be a factor ....... but it is.

    I am interested to know what the bad reference was before I comment further.
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    Unfortunately it was made over the phone so no written evidence.

    However, he was told buy the MD in the third and final interview that because of his anxiety and smoking he thought that my brother would not be able to handle the stress of the job (it is a recruitment job). Up until that point they loved him. He even had to write a report for them so that they could gauge his written abilities as well as determine how interested he was in the job as he had to do quite a bit of research as it is a niche recruitment agency. The MD told him his report was "Really, really good".

    As far as my brother is concerned, the only reason they did not give him the job was because of his anxiety and smoking habits.

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    A background of the previous job, from what I can remember.

    My brother applied for this job with the previous employer as a sales person. It is a very small company, +-4 people. They wanted to focus more on sales as up until that point the MD/CEO or whatever PA did most of the "sales". As she was very busy with the sales and all the other work, his employer decided to take on a dedicated sales person, of which my brother got the job.

    The problem, however, is from day one the PA did not like my brother as it meant that she would no longer be getting commission from the sales. She was also in charge and forwarding him all the leads. The problem, however, is that she kept all the good leads for herself so she would get all the commission and instead past my brother all the stale leads. Her boss did not seem concerned by this at all.

    It came to a point where my brother was getting nothing, and his employer decided to instead make a new role for him that basically meant he would also assist his employer on a more day to day basis and not focus on sales anymore. However, he basically just used my brother as a cheap PA doing menial jobs, such as this one occasion his employer wanted to attend a high level funeral and wanted a front row seat so told Ryan to go to the church two hours before to keep him a seat.

    Anyway, there were times where my brother was so busy he was working 10 to 12 hour days, but there were more times where he had nothing to do but he was still forced to sit in the office from 8 to 6, which would drive any intelligent person insane, hence the smoke breaks. He didn't even hide the fact that he had nothing to do, they knew it, but still they had issue with it.

    All this for R 8k a month.

    My brother left not because he could not do the job, but because he was treated like dung and could not handle sitting in a office all day with nothing to do.

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    I spoke to my brother properly over the phone.

    The new employer only contacted his last employer (all his other previous employers would have given him an excellent reference) and the only reason he did not get the job was because they felt he would not be able to cope with all stress due to his anxiety and that his anxiety allegedly caused him to be forgetful at times. His previous employer also said he smoked too much, however he was never confronted about it or given a verbal or written warning about his smoking; which was primarily due to him sitting around with nothing to do at times.

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    All this for a job he only spent five months at and left because he was being taken advantage of and now he will find it extremely difficult to get a new job as his last employer will probably continue to give a bad reference.

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