(The term Dienstzeugnis is used synonymously.) Term denoting one of the employment documents which takes the form of a written testimonial provided by the employer at the end of the employment relationship. If it merely states the nature and duration of the employment concerned it is referred to as a purely formal reference (einfaches Zeugnis), but it may also contain a positive assessment of the employee's performance and/or conduct, in which case it is referred to as a descriptive reference (qualifiziertes Zeugnis). Under Austrian law the employee has the (inalienable) right only to a purely formal reference, which the employer is required to furnish only if the employee so requests. The law prohibits, without exception, the inclusion of any information unfavourable to the employee. This means that any comments in the form of coded criticism (Zeugniscodes) are also unlawful.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.