Can a bad reference amount to defamation? The recent findings in Bowden v KSMC Holdings Pty Ltd t/as Hubba Bubba Childcare on Haigh & Chapman  NSWDC 98 suggests this is possible.
Facts of the case:
- Mr Bowden is a 20-year-old student training in Certificate III for Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE.
- He was employed by Hubba Bubba Child Care as part of his course to fulfil professional experience criteria.
- Ms Chapman was the director of MSC Holdings Pty Ltd t/as Hubba Bubba Childcare (Hubba Bubba) on Haig.
- Ms Chapman had a policy that prohibited her employees from undertaking any babysitting work whilst employed at her childcare centre.
- Mr Bowden undertook two babysitting jobs with the parent of a child who had previously sent her children to Hubba Bubba and Ms Chapman learned about the babysitting jobs in a phone conversation.
- Ms Chapman had Mr Bowden escorted off the premises as soon as he finished his duties for the day and subsequently Ms Chapman sent an email to 35 parents whose children attended the childcare centre stating that:
“Matt – is unfortunately no longer with us due to disciplinary reasons. Whilst being good with the children in general, Matt was not truthful with us regarding his studies and some other issues, and I felt it was better for him to move on and possibly gain a bit more life experience. We wish him well with his future.”