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Written warning - employment reference for being a foster carer

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I went through a disciplinary hearing in April 2012 & the outcome was a written warning which would expire November 2012.I have just signed up to be a foster carer and a work reference was needed. My line manager has put on the reference about the disciplinary hearing, is she allowed to do that even though it expired a year ago ?

I spoke to Acas who said there is nothing in the legislation regarding this ...if that's the case why say that it'll expire on a certain date etc ?

Anyone know ?


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There is no legislation which requires an employer to expunge a warning after a certain period, merely guidelines which require that a warning should not be held on file for an 'excessive' period. Also, the purposes of a warning should be to correct errant behaviour in that employment, so whilst the warning may have expired insofar as the employment contract was concerned, the nature of information required by the foster agency may be different - for example 'Was this person the subject of any disciplinary proceedings during the previous 3 years?' In that way, a warning would have expired for the purposes of escalating any subsequent disciplinary action, it might still be validly disclosed in the context of the reference.


Have you spoken to your employer and asked specifically why this information was disclosed? Equally have you spoken to the foster agency to see whether it will have a negative effect on your application?

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.






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Fosterers should be of good moral character but don't have to be perfect. So if the warning was for theft, hitting someone, aggressive behaviour, you may have a problem. Poor timekeeping or paperwork - not so much.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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SW has it in a nutshell.


However, I would add that your employer has a duty of care in processing your data and providing references. In certain industries, for employment purposes, the warning would need to be disclosed (for example FSA regulated services). I'm not aware of the legislative framework surrounding references for foster care as it's outside the employment bracket - but legally speaking, an employer unnecessarily disclosing an expired warning without due cause, or for a vexatious reason, could amount to a breach of trust and confidence.

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Thanks for the replys.

The warning was for -

Myself and partner work for the local authority.After maternity leave my job was redundant so I got slotted into a new job at a residential home for adults with learning disabilities. The residents would come in my office, nudge me, pick my drink up & drool all over it, lay on the floor so I couldn't get out of the office etc. I was completely unprepared for this, had no idea what there disabilities exactly were (no one told me) and an email between myself and my partner was seen discussing these happenings with me been uncomfortable etc and they tried to make it out really bad. Such as one day a resident laid on the floor so I emailed partner telling him and saying what do I do ? As the resident had been know to grab people & chase them. My partner told me to walk over him. They interpreted that that he meant stand ON him!

Anyway, we both got a written warning. Mine expire last year and his still stands .

As far as I'm aware the reference given to my manager did not include a question re disciplinary and I'm unsure exactly how much my manager knows about the hearing etc and she wasn't my manager at the time

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Hi darkobird,


with regards to the written warning I would assume that the 12 months relates to how long it was deemed to be 'live'/on file within the organisation - i.e. if there was another disciplinary during that 12 month period another written warning might be logged as concurrent 2nd warning - or indeed a final written warning.


With regards to the warning being included in your foster care reference, well, really why not? It may be either relevant or not, and you cannot be too careful when dealing with vulnerable children.


I should roll with the punch and not worry about it. The whole assessment process takes about six/seven months and you will be asked to provide other personal references, you will be undergoing an ongoing assessment by social workers and your application will be assessed by a panel. Fairly thorough stuff!


In the overall assessment the note about your 'spent' disciplinary may have no influence at all on the panel, or it may raise concerns. We don't know what the written warning was for - not that that matters right now.


Good luck with the rest of the process.

Edited by SweetLorraine
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Hi Lorraine,


Iv explained above why warning was done. They put our assessment on hold till they find out both sides etc. I'm just really mad that she basically told them I'm not fit to care for children , yet my partners boss who also wrote a reference didn't put it on reference as she didn't think it had any bearing on my partners reference or his ability to care for children.

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Hi darkobird,


sorry, I see your explanation now - I guess I was still writing as you posted.


OK - so they are looking into the issue - that's understandable. I guess social services would say that the more they know about prospective foster parents the better for all concerned.


Hopefully you can give your side of the story as well. It would seem bad enough that your employer placed you in a work situation for which you weren't adequately prepared or supported. To then, somehow, construe a concerned email from your partner to 'step over' a prone patient (in order to remove yourself from a potentially unsafe situation) as an instruction to step on him is a bit of a leap (no pun intended).


PS - are you both entitled to see the references that were supplied by your managers? That might help resolve the matter.

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