Where an individual's employment offer is withdrawn due to an unsatisfactory reference does he or she have any right to see the reference?

There are two ways in which the individual may see the reference. The first is under the Data Protection Act 1998. Although the Act provides an exemption from disclosure of employment references by the reference giver, this exemption does not apply to the recipient of the reference. Even though the reference may identify a third party, such as the author of the reference, the view of the Information Commissioner is that it should normally be disclosed, unless the reference giver provides compelling reasons for it to be edited or not disclosed. The second way in which the individual would be able to see the reference would be through court proceedings if the individual took the view that a negligent reference had been given. Disclosure is likely to be ordered within the context of any such proceedings. However, the Data Protection Act 1998 is likely to be an individual's first port of call.