A letter of reference is a key term in a wrongful dismissal matter. It would be prudent in most situations to include the actual letter as a term of the settlement. Attach it as an appendix, along with a provision that the oral references are consistent with the content of the reference letter. In some situations, it is stipulated that the oral references are confined to what is stipulated in the reference letter. This way you have made the reference letter and the oral references an actual term of the settlement.
In many situations, I will have the client prepare the initial draft which enables them to set out what they want their employer stating about them and to highlight their strengths. The draft is sent to the company’s lawyer, and the company will make changes they deem necessary, so they are comfortable with signing the letter.
Companies are busy running their business and by having the client prepare the initial draft, you ensure it gets addressed early on in the negotiations (and not as an after- thought at the end). The client will put everything in the letter they want so unless the company has a real issue with anything stated, the letter may only have a few changes.
What you want to accomplish here is to have the employee described in the most favourable light as possible with both the letter and the oral references included as terms of the settlement agreement. In many circumstances, the employee may never actually use the reference letter but at least, by having it as a term of the settlement along with the stipulation about the verbal references, you have an agreement on what will be stated about you to prospective employers.