I am wondering I have a situation where I have to ask for the reference from my previous workplace where I think it somehow impossible. Long story short, so I got this job from a friend that decided to quit because they have an issue with the employer as well.

The company is a small company that runs by husband and wife. We agreed that I would get paid $120 per day, 9-5. I work in there as the account and admin assistant. It supposed to be a 9-5 job, but I stay back most of the time (all the time) until around 7 PM because I want to make sure I get the job done. They come to the office with India hours.

There is one time I asked to leave at 5.30 because one of my friends has to for good. They are not quite happy about it; he told me to do some other tasks then I could go, so, I ended up leaving at 5.40 on that day.

They told me that they are leaving overseas for three weeks and told me not to come because there is nothing to do. ( I was doing the A/P from their expenses so basically when they are not in town, there are no receipt)

A week after I have another appointment so I wish to leave at 5.02 I approached to the husband planned to tell him everything I did today (I always report everything I've done at the end of the day with them). He asked me to wait because he is calling someone so I waited for 20 mins.He wants to sit down and have a meeting with me.Then I told him that I couldn't stay back longer because I have a dinner reservation.

He starts being so angry, yelling and abusing me. He told me that I am not serious about this job. They told me not to come back to the company unless I want to work three days in a week. Which honestly I don't want to back to the company (I think you know what is the reason behind it).Forgot to mention I never get anything for staying back. I am aware it will be unpaid stay back, and I did it voluntarily because I just want to get the job done.

Now I have an interview in couple places, and obviously, sooner or later they will ask me the reference from this company. How can I explain the best way about the situation or do you have any other suggestions?

  • 3
    What makes you think they will specifically ask a reference of that company, and then specifically the owner? Usually companies will just "ask for references", letting you decide who you use for that.
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:21
  • 1
    Also, this question is quite long. You could probably cut out a lot of the details, without losing anything important. Also also, welcome to the Workplace. I hope you enjoy your stay; please don't take comments personally. We're just trying to help everyone by making questions as clear as possible.
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:23
  • Thank you for your feedback, I will cut the details. They want to ask what my tasks are in this company, and the owner is the director/manager/everything. So In the office normally just me, husband and wife and another girl (she is relatively new as well), we don't talk much.
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:27
  • Can you state where you live? In some places you have the right to fair reference. If not, write it yourself and ask your former boss to sign it. If you are persuasive and he will get rid of you with a simple signature most people will do this.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 12:23
  • What are "Indian hours"? Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


You don't have to use them as a reference in your future interviews.

Here is the thing, you are the one choosing your referees, not the interviewer, so you can easily not choose your ex boss as a referee.

The only thing now is being prepared to answer questions such as:

  • I said I didn't quite like ethe work culture in the company that is why I am looking for another job in another company that has an actual finance team.
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:58
  • and I am still wondering what should I say best if I asked for second quesitons
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:58
  • Another thing I forgot to mention is I am a fresh graduate and I am looking for a full-time job now and that is why this could be quite an issue
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:00
  • Well I guess you have to options, either giving the phone number of a manager or coworker you think would be a good reference, or explain why you'd rather not (and by that I mean "we weren't agreeing on work culture" rather than "I was their slave")
    – sh5164
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:00
  • If you just graduated you can even play the "First experience" card, explaining you didn't know how to handle this at the time
    – sh5164
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:04

It's highly likely that you'll just be asked for references in a generic manner instead of being asked for references for this specific company.

In this case, you can simply provide references from other employment or coworkers, ex-lecturers or fellow students, or even a friend of the family if you really have no other option.

If specifically asked for a reference from that company (which I highly doubt will happen), you can possibly respond with something like "There was some personal conflict which I don't feel comfortable discussing" (do not say this simply as a reason for why you're leaving).

Would this still be considered your current employer? If so, no reasonable person would expect or request a reference from them. Also, not sure what your current situation or plans are, but it's generally best not to quit until you've secured another job (which would support your case of not giving a reference).

There is a difference between providing a reference and proving employment. If it's a question of proving employment, you may be able get a letter from them simply confirming the dates you worked for them (there may be some legal requirements for them to provide some sort of proof of employment, but you'll need to consult a lawyer to confirm this). If you request this from them and they deny you, you can possibly just tell a recruiter as much. If you receive a letter, but it's very negative, you may be able to justify this as stated above.

You may also be able to show your payslips, but this would generally be seen as a last resort (since it's commonly recommended to avoid sharing your current salary).

In the worst case, a written sworn statement from yourself might also suffice.

Most of this last part would depend on in which country you live.

  • Thank you for your reply, I am currently not working in that company because they are overseas, and a recruitment agent told me that they will need my reference from that company, just to check what was my duty in that company were.
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:06
  • I'm currently working in a cafe during the weekends to support myself
    – J.Jen
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:09
  • @J.Jen See edit. Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:28

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