References are often asked for in job applications. There is usually no legal obligation upon an employer to provide a reference to an employee. Employers who do give references must make them fair and accurate and employers who ask for references must handle them fairly and consistently.
A reference gives important information to a potential employer, that helps them decide if a job applicant is suitable.
If an employer chooses to give a reference, then this can range from anything to basic facts through to detailed character information. The reference must be a true, accurate and fair reflection of the job applicant. When opinions are provided they should be based on facts. If an employer decides to give a reference, they should avoid giving subjective opinions or comments that are not supported by fact. In the event that a job applicant is unhappy with a reference provided by a former employer, they can on request (usually in writing) obtain a copy of any reference sent to a new employer. That request would be made to the author of the reference.