I'm in the UK and I'm about to quit the job in which I've worked for the past 3,5 years. During that time, I got promoted to the Team Lead position.

Now, I'm about to quit, but the company heavily depends on me, and I think my manager and the founders might not accept my resignation well.

My concern is whether my current employer would refuse to give me positive references in the future. This is particularly concerning to me because when I was promoted to a Team Lead I only received internal emails announcing the change officially, but no signed documents like a contract with a new job title in it. I also have a company LinkedIn post that mentions me as a Team Lead, and I'm registered as a Team Lead in the HR system too, but I don't know if I can use any of those items as proof of having been in that role unless my employer confirms it when someone responsible for the background check reaches out to him.

What should I do in this case? Can my employer deny giving me reference checks in the future? Could I use any of the alternative proofs of being promoted to the role, as the promotion emails?

  • If you want to know what they're legally allowed to do, you need to add a location. It varies with jurisdiction.
    – Erik
    Jul 7, 2021 at 14:57
  • 1
    Thank you for the tip, Erik. I'm in the UK (just added that to the question as per your recommendation). I'm concerned with the legal aspect of it too, but I'm more concerned about the practical aspect of using emails and etc instead of a whole new contract as proof of promotion.
    – Anon1489
    Jul 7, 2021 at 15:02
  • As well as the other answers; contact HR (without mentioning that you're looking for a new role), and ask what is required to get your job description updated. I once worked for a large company where I was made redundant because I had an old job description in HR.
    – PeteCon
    Jul 7, 2021 at 20:49
  • Its worth remembering that job titles are virtually meaningless. It would never be a big factor in offering someone a role Jul 17, 2021 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


You don't need to worry about this. Many companies will not even seek references. Of those that do, most will have already made the decision to hire you and will collect references as a final check. Your experience and competence as a team leader will be determined at interview, not by asking a previous employer.

If / when they are asked for a reference, your employer should not refuse to provide or give a dishonest one (there would be consequences to them of the latter). They may give you a very terse reference:

I confirm that Anon1489 worked here between x and y and held the position of Team Leader.

This would be fine. Many larger companies require that their staff do only this, omitting any commentary on performance, so it will not appear unusual.

  • Thanks a lot! That's really reassuring to hear. Do you also know whether I could use emails as proof of promotion if I have to submit a form to a third-party background check company in place of having them contact my employer?
    – Anon1489
    Jul 7, 2021 at 15:12
  • I don't know but I'd assume not (it'd be rather easy for someone to spoof some mails and cheat the background check)
    – simonc
    Jul 7, 2021 at 15:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .