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What is the purpose of a work report?

A work assessment may seem like a relic of the past, but don’t be fooled. There are still some employers who require it. How long can your former employer collect information about you and what can you do if the report is misleading or outright false? This is the focus of our article.

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Mr Milan contacted the office of the Accessible Advocate to apply for a new position. He had gone through two rounds of the selection process, at which point the potential employer asked him for work references from two previous jobs. However, one of the employers issued a reference which, according to Mr Milan, was inaccurate and portrayed him in a bad light. We helped Mr. Milan draft a lawsuit seeking to correct the misrepresented report. At the same time, he informed his new employer of his action. Fortunately, the employer did not shy away from the negative opinion and hired Mr. Milan.

Every employer has the right to keep a personnel file on its employees, which is kept even after their employment has ended. Upon request, the employer should also provide the employee with a report on his/her work activities, but may not provide it further without the employee’s consent.

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What is a work report and what is its importance?

It should be said that while it used to be almost routine to obtain references and work references, in recent years it has become less important. Employers have their own recruiters and external HR agencies who will tailor the selection process to get the right person for the job.

However, don’t confuse a job reference with a credit report. In the first case, the employer actually evaluates your performance, qualifications, skills, approach to work and mentions your pros and possibly cons, and only does so at your explicit request. In doing so, they may only mention facts that are relevant or directly related to the work activity. These may also be qualities of the employee, but only in relation to the work, i.e. for example, organisational skills, initiative or discipline. Mention of the employee’s personal affairs or family life is prohibited. Nor should the reason for termination of employment be mentioned.

In the latter case, it is a standard certificate issued to the employee at the end of his/her employment or, at the most, two months before its termination. It is a document which confirms that the worker has been employed in a specific position by a given employer for a specific period of time. You will always need a credit certificate to confirm your experience in the civil service, and you will also need it when applying for unemployment benefits at the Czech Labour Office or for a pension at the Czech Social Security Administration.

According to the Labour Code, an employment report is “all documents relating to the evaluation of an employee’s work, his qualifications, abilities and other facts related to the performance of work“. Thus, a work report should contain, in particular, information on the education and training received by the employee, the type of work performed by the employee and its quality.

Tip: Employment law is regulated by a number of legal provisions, but the Labour Code is its “bible”. Here you will find out, for example, what your employer must provide for you and what you are entitled to as an employee. We have therefore compiled the five parts of the Labour Code that are most frequently asked about and that are worth knowing.

When may a work assessment be provided?

What if someone approaches your former employer without your knowledge and asks questions about you? In this case, the employer should not provide any information without your explicit consent. However, it is a different situation if you list some people yourself along with contact details to provide references on your CV. In this case, providing these details is deemed to be consent to be contacted by them. As a rule, however, you contact these persons yourself in advance and inform them of the inclusion in your CV.

Tip: When you start a new job, you may find that your employer does not set your wage as part of your contract of employment, but rather enshrines it in the contract that it is set by a pay scale. We’ve described what difference this makes for you and how it can be less advantageous in our article.

How long can employee data be kept?

There is no clear answer to this question. According to the GDPR rules, the data controller should stop processing personal data when the purpose of the processing ends. Ideally, the employer should assess the existence of these processing purposes for each type of document and destroy them gradually. Thus, some documents should be destroyed as soon as the employment relationship ends, others only after the expiry of the statutory retention period or the employer’s legitimate interest.

What if you disagree with the assessment?

If your former employer has given false or misleading information, you can seek redress in court under the Labour Code within three months from the date you became aware of the report. You can sue to have the employer amend or omit something in the report. In your application for modification, you will state which parts of the report you disagree with and suggest their wording or deletion. The court will make a decision.

The employee may also claim damages in accordance with the Labour Code. You can imagine a situation where another employer has not hired you in connection with the new judgment. The damages that the employer is obliged to compensate the employee in this case may also consist of the employee’s lost earnings with the other employer. It should be noted, however, that proving this case may not be easy.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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