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.