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Airline pilot loses job following reference from Jabba the Hutt

Jasmine Chadha

An airline pilot with freight carrier West Atlantic UK has lost his job after giving putting forward Desilijic Tiure – an alternative name for the Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt – as a reference. Contributor Jasmine Chadha, Solicitor London Employment team – Royds Withy King.

Mr Francis-McGann was working as a pilot and applied for a role as captain. He was successful, trained by West Atlantic UK and started work in his new role as a captain. His reference, from Jabba the Hutt, claimed that he had previously worked as an airline captain.

On discovering that the reference was false and that he was not qualified for the new role he was dismissed. Jasmine Chadha, a solicitor in the London Employment team at Royds Withy King said: “References are a very important aspect of the recruitment process – whether for a Resistance X-wing pilot or airline captain – giving information to a potential employer to help them decide whether a job applicant is suitable.

“References are usually obtained by a direct request from the potential new employer to a previous employer, but as the case of Francis-McGann v West Atlantic UK Limited shows unscrupulous employees may also seek to provide references themselves that contain false information.

“It is essential for recruiters to have robust reference verification processes in place and ensure that they always verify a reference with the actual employer on whose behalf that reference is provided. This is especially the case when candidates are given responsibility for obtaining or providing references themselves and may take that opportunity to embellish or entirely doctor references.

“Any candidate relying on a false reference is dishonest and potentially fraudulent, and not a candidate that any potential employer will want to hire. Providing a false reference is also almost always gross misconduct because of the dishonesty element. There is also the potentially adverse reputational impact on any recruiter that has, even inadvertently, placed a candidate on the basis of a false reference as a result of failing to carry out reliable reference checks.”

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