IRD's policy of not providing work references to ex-employees

D Dahya made this Official Information request to Inland Revenue Department

Inland Revenue Department did not have the information requested.

From: D Dahya

Dear Inland Revenue Department,

I would like to know why IRD has a policy that does not allow them to provide work references to former employees?

The existence of such a policy is oppressive, unfair and especially detrimental to ex- employees future career opportunities.

Any such policy needs to be conveyed to all potential employees of IRD prior to starting their employment.

Yours sincerely,

D Dahya

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department


Attachment OIA response for D Dahya.docx.pdf
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Dear D Dahya
Please find attached a response to your Official Information Act request
of 22 June 2017.  

Thank you
Manager, Commissioner’s Correspondence

 

 

This email and any attachment may contain confidential information. If you
have received this email or any attachment in error, please delete the
email / attachment, and notify the sender. Please do not copy, disclose or
use the email, any attachment, or any information contained in them.
Consider the environment before deciding to print: avoid printing if you
can, or consider printing double-sided. Visit us online at ird.govt.nz

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From: D Dahya

Dear Mr Daldorf,

Thank you for your response dated 3/7/17 which states "IR does not generally issue written references to employees other than a 'Statement of service' " and "Leaders may offer to provide a verbal work reference , commenting on work activities and performance of employees..."

Your response indicates that only IRD Leaders may provide verbal references (but not written ones) and are not obligated to provide one at all.

I have it on good authority and I completely trust the sources that advised me that the policy does not allow any references to be issued at all only service records. One such source happens to be my former manager (Lauren Tapp) who I trust completely and would have absolutely no reason to mislead me in anyway at all as she is a professional & experienced long term IRD employee who is fully aware of the importance and significance a reference has in securing one's future employment, while the other source was Paul Gillespie (Senior Solicitor,Corporate Legal) in 2014 who fully supported my former managers response ie he advised that IR is not required to provide a reference and employees aren't entitled to one.

So either your response is incorrect or there may be variations of this policy amongst different departments/business units within IRD. I would like this point clarified once and for all.

I do have questions relating to the existing policy and ask for responses to each of them below.

Questions:

-Currently is there a requirement to notify potential employees of this policy prior to their employment with IRD and, if so, is it in written form?

- At what point are employees made aware of this policy?

- Do you consider this policy potentially oppressive or obstructive if applicants are not advised of this policy prior to signing an employment agreement and if references are only provided in verbal form?

- Is there not more of a requirement for future employees/applicants to be advised of this policy prior to the start of their employment with IRD on the basis that only verbal references will be provided, not written ones, and is not mandatory to provide one at all?

- What happens in the following scenario where the Leader has left the organisation and can no longer be contacted and an employment opportunity is dependant on the provision of a reference for a former employee?

How then, are you able to obtain a reference if written references are not provided?

*This is where a written reference is preferred over a verbal one.

Regarding the above scenario is the current policy ineffective?

Does this not leave the power of employment opportunities in the hands of the Leader after the employee's departure?

- Does the current policy clearly state references can only be provided by a certain (or only one) leader ie a manager etc, and verbally only and that the Leader is not obligated to provide one?

-Does it explain what to do if that Leader leaves the organisation after the employee does?

- Should the policy allow for a written reference to be provided?

- I earned a salary increase during my time there but did not have access to a reference because of the policy -if this is correct should the policy be changed?

- Do future employees have right to know about the policy prior to employment?

- Are employees disadvantaged by not being informed of this policy prior to employment at IRD?

-Is it correct that employees have access to this policy after he/she has signed an employment agreement?

- How is any potential employee able to inquire, challenge, object to the terms of this policy if they are not made aware of it prior to their employment term?

Points:

- I have been advised on atleast 2 occasions that the policy does not allow references to be provided by
L Tapp and P Gillespie in 2014.

- I trust my former manager's response completely especially if her response has been supported by IR's legal person.

- I earned a salary increase during my time there but did not have access to a reference because of the policy and have missed out on many job opportunities because of it.

- I myself was not able to obtain a reference from my manager because of the policy. I personally did not see this policy and did not have access to it after my employment when I was advised of its existence.

Lastly, I believe that to be advised of this policy at the end of one's employment term is ineffective and obstructive.

For transparency sake employees should be made aware of this policy prior to employment as it directly impacts on subsequent employment endeavours as the existence of such a policy is oppressive, unfair and, especially, detrimental to ex-employees future career opportunities.

The policy should be flexible enough to allow for more than one Leader to provide a reference (for varying reasons) and should be, if the requester prefers, in writing and not limited to a verbal one.

Yours sincerely,

D Dahya

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Luke left an annotation ()

Verbal references are relationship-based, not employer-based. Therefore it is at the discretion of your previous manager as to whether they would be willing to provide a verbal reference for your future employment.

Employers, like the IRD, typically don't want to get involved in providing written references as this can implicate the organisation, particularly if the recruiting organisation decided to hold the employer to account for what is said in the letter. A letters on organisational letterhead would be viewed as being issued by the organisation rather than the manager in their personal capacity.

Anyone involved in HR may want to comment further.

It would be interesting to know in what circumstances employers, like IRD, are prepared to provide written references.

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department


Attachment D Dahya.pdf
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Good morning,

 

On behalf of Jonathan Burrage, Manager Commissioner's
Correspondence, please find attached an acknowledgement of your Official
Information Act request.

 

 

Manager Commissioner's Correspondence

 

 

This email and any attachment may contain confidential information. If you
have received this email or any attachment in error, please delete the
email / attachment, and notify the sender. Please do not copy, disclose or
use the email, any attachment, or any information contained in them.
Consider the environment before deciding to print: avoid printing if you
can, or consider printing double-sided. Visit us online at ird.govt.nz

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department


Attachment OIA response re work references.pdf
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Dear D Dahya

Please find attached a response to your Official Information Act request
of 14 September 2017.

 

Yours sincerely

Manager, Commissioner’s Correspondence

 

 

 

 

 

This email and any attachment may contain confidential information. If you
have received this email or any attachment in error, please delete the
email / attachment, and notify the sender. Please do not copy, disclose or
use the email, any attachment, or any information contained in them.
Consider the environment before deciding to print: avoid printing if you
can, or consider printing double-sided. Visit us online at ird.govt.nz

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Cody C left an annotation ()

I have read the full response from IRD and their policies seem to be in-line with that of other similar private sector employers of the same size. Nothing unusual to see here. Employers are under no obligation to provide a verbal or written reference, but will generally hand out a certificate of service.

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From: D Dahya

Dear oia,

Firstly, I will respond in full to your last letter dated 2/11/17 but for now here is one important reply to your response.

Regarding my questions 'i, Currently is there a requirement to notify potential employees of this policy prior to their employment with IRD and, if so, is it in written form? & ii, At what point are employees made aware of this policy?'

Your response to them:

The 'Ending Employment Policy is part of IRD's People Policies & Guidelines.
There is no requirement to notify potential employees of our 'Ending Employment Policy' before they are employed. However, anyone who is going through our recruitment process can ask to see our 'People Policies & Guidelines'.

Our 'People Policies & Guidelines' are published on the staff intranet . All staff can access the policy at any time , from the day they start working at IRD.

My response to this;

'As my question indicates any employee would not be aware of this policy ie that written references are not provided, and so, would NOT know to ask this question nor look for the answer during their tenure.

IRD must realise that, to the employee, this information is important, relevant & significant (as it impacts on livelihood ie future employment) to any employee during and after their employment at IRD.

This then emphasis the significance of my 2nd question 'At what point are employees made aware of this policy?'

In it's current state the policy appears to disadvantage any former employee.

I await for your response to this.

Yours sincerely,

D Dahya

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department

Dear D Dahya

 

Thank you for your email on 20 July 2018, responding to a letter from Mark
Daldorf dated 2 October 2017.

 

To clarify, are you requesting further information on Inland Revenue’s
Ending Employment Policy? If so, the following information may be of some
use to you.

 

The Ending Employment Policy states that written references will not be
provided unless they are a character or personal reference. This means the
written reference will not be on Inland Revenue letterhead and will not
comment on the work or performance of an employee. As you know, leaders
may provide a verbal reference which comments on the work activities and
performance of employees who are leaving Inland Revenue.

 

Could you please clarify your request as this will assist us in providing
you with the most useful and relevant information.

 

Kind regards

 

Government & Executive Services

 

This email and any attachment may contain confidential information. If you
have received this email or any attachment in error, please delete the
email / attachment, and notify the sender. Please do not copy, disclose or
use the email, any attachment, or any information contained in them.
Consider the environment before deciding to print: avoid printing if you
can, or consider printing double-sided. Visit us online at ird.govt.nz

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department


Attachment 19OIA012 draft response Dahya.pdf
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Good morning

 

Please find attached a response to your Official Information Act request
on behalf of Catherine Simpson, Acting Manager, Government & Executive
Services.

 

Regards

Government and Executive Services

 

This email and any attachment may contain confidential information. If you
have received this email or any attachment in error, please delete the
email / attachment, and notify the sender. Please do not copy, disclose or
use the email, any attachment, or any information contained in them.
Consider the environment before deciding to print: avoid printing if you
can, or consider printing double-sided. Visit us online at ird.govt.nz

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