Are employers legally required to seek references when recruiting?

No, generally there is no legal obligation on employers to seek references for new employees. An employer may choose not to seek references and to rely on information provided by the candidate instead, particularly if the role is temporary or the employer requires someone urgently. Most employers prefer to obtain at least one reference from a previous employer to verify the accuracy of information provided. Employers in the financial services sector are required to obtain references when recruiting for an "approved person" role or for an individual to perform a senior management function or a certification function.