Michael Clements had a temporary contract with Capita as an agency worker in a laundry at the Sellafield Nuclear plant in Cumbria but was dismissed when the reference from the London-based construction company Edmund Nuttall came through.

According to a report on July 25 in the Carlisle and Cumbria daily newspaper the News & Star, the details were revealed in a High Court libel writ issued by Clements’ solicitor.

Clements was claiming between £15,000 and £50,000 in damages. In the writ, his solicitor stated: “The claimant’s reputation has been seriously damaged and he has suffered hurt, distress and embarrassment.

“The reference was erroneous and malicious and completed solely with the intention of damaging the claimant’s reputation and/or career prospects.”

Capita said it was not company policy to speak about individual employees.

A spokesman for Edmund Nuttall said “We settled out of court recently, the matter is now closed.”