Employees are entitled to an employer's reference that addresses the nature and duration of the employment relationship as well as their performance and conduct. But how long can an employee enforce this claim?
The employee may request an employer's reference from the employer at any time, stating the nature and duration of the employment relationship as well as her performance and conduct. The legal basis is Article 330a OR.
According to the most recent case law of the Federal Supreme Court, the claim to an employer's reference, in contrast to the vacation claim, is subject to the ten-year limitation period of Art. 127 CO. In its ruling 4A_295/2020, the Federal Supreme Court agreed with the prevailing doctrine and recalled that the short, five-year limitation period under Art. 128 para. 3 CO was originally introduced due to the rapid settlement of claims of current business operations. However, this exceptional provision had to be interpreted narrowly, since the short limitation period was unilaterally to the detriment of the employee.
Although the claim for an employer's reference is a claim of a pecuniary nature, there are no other similarities with wage claims or other monetary claims arising from the employment relationship. For these reasons, the claim is subject to the ordinary limitation period of ten years in accordance with the case law of the Federal Supreme Court.