I've recently resigned, having accepted an offer from another employer.

The new employer requested references. I gave references that were not my current line manager as I felt he wouldn't give the best reference and I didn't want to risk that he would give a less than favourable one.

Since I've resigned, he has now asked me directly who the referees were - should I tell him?

I can't see why he would want to know. One of the them is no longer with the company, so I could decline on that basis, but the other is still with the company.

I think his nose is a bit out of joint that I didn't ask him, maybe I should just say that I gave referees who have known me longer than him, but that might make it worse.

  • 1
    In america we don't use the term referees that way.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 1, 2016 at 10:37
  • @Paparazzi good to know.
    – user29055
    Apr 1, 2016 at 14:07

3 Answers 3


What is the risk of burning bridges with your line manager? It feels like you've already decided that the bridge isn't a valuable one in the sense that you didn't think your line manager would provide a positive reference, and that you are leaving the business.

On that basis, providing the names of your references is none of your line manager's business, and you shouldn't provide them if you think your line manager may pester them.


You should not. It might make matters worse for the referee who is still in the joint. Also there is no value for you in him knowing them.

If you have to tell him , bluff him with people who have left the joint


No, it is an absolute disservice to the person who gave you references. You can say "colleagues who has known me for a long time" or "colleagues who are no longer here" but throwing someone who is still working for the same company, under the bus, is not nice.

Plus, you manager seems like, is om a retaliation path. You are no longer a subject to his retaliation but the people who were left behind might easily be. No need to give him more ammunition he can use. Professionally, your manager should not have asked this. But again, from the writing style, you are from some other country and the rules of workplace might be different.

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