Has your rent been raised? Find out more about your rights

How do I formulate a work reference properly?

We have compiled a list.

The answer in detail

Formulating a work reference properly

An employee's work reference must include information that is as accurate as possible about the length of their employment, the type of activity, their performance, and their conduct.
This information must be truthful, clearly formulated, and complete. Since the work reference should generally promote the career of the employee, it should be positive.

Most of us know the encoded wording of a work reference. The assessment of work performance ranges in these codes from “to our satisfaction” (barely sufficient) to “always to our utmost satisfaction” (good). It is not permitted for such qualifications to have a hidden meaning, since this would go against the principal of clarity and good faith. Because a supposedly positive formulation is designed to express something negative in code.

If such codes are found in the reference and/or the reference is wrong or incomplete, the employee can demand a correction and, in extreme cases, claim damages. This may be the case, for example, if the employee verifiably missed out on another job because of the poor reference.

However, it is difficult to prove what encoded wording is. In the attachment, you will find a comparison of standard wording and the corresponding meaning.
Here, you can create a work reference online. The generator will guide you through the jungle of the various parts of a reference by providing targeted questions and explanations. At the end, you can download the result as a Word document free of charge.

Important documents
Vorlage Liste Zeugnissprache