EMPLOYERS who unfairly give former employees bad references could face damages claims in the wake of a ruling regarding an Oxfordshire man.

On Wednesday three appeal judges ruled in favour of car body repairer Pat Jessemey, who had worked in a car sales and repair business in Rowstock, near Didcot until three years ago.

Mr Jessemey, 69, from Didcot, said his former boss at Rowstock Ltd gave him a bad reference because he had complained about age discrimination and launched unfair dismissal proceedings.

An employment tribunal concluded that the bad reference was given because Mr Jessemey pursued discrimination proceedings.

But it ruled that “post-employment victimisation” was not unlawful under the 2010 Equality Act, and that ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed and allowed an appeal by Mr Jessemey. It concluded that equality legislation catered for “post-employment victimisation” and judges said an employment tribunal should assess how much compensation Mr Jessemey should receive.

The father-of-two and grandfather, who lives with wife Linda, added: “I’m pleased with the ruling and I hope it helps other people. I haven’t retired yet – I now work for a medical firm in Didcot.”

Rowstock Ltd director Joe Davis was unavailable for comment.