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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My husband worked for the rac for 29 years. At the end of last

Customer Question

My husband worked for the rac for 29 years. At the end of last year he was given the choice of a zero hrs contract or voluntary redundancy along with the 3 other patrols based here. He tried the zero hrs contract but found it too stressful so 3 months later opted for voluntary redundancy. Now the rac are advertising for patrols in this area on a monthly contract basis as before and an improved shift pattern. Can my husband apply? Their hr dept says not until after a year but surely its not fair when they have improved the terms of the job ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Has his VR application been accepted?

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

Yes he received his money.

Ben Jones :

so his employment has terminated already?

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

Yes 23rd march. But now they are advertising for staff as they have no patrols left up here they all left after being treated so badly. They were made to take zero hrs contracts or redundancy. Nowthey have no staff they are advertising proper contracts again with a much more attractive shift system

Ben Jones :

Employers have the right to choose who they employ and can make such decisions based on a wide range of factors. There could be a number of reasons why one candidate is chosen in preference to others or why someone is not given a job, even if they are generally considered to be the best candidate. It is generally lawful for the employer to use whatever considerations they feel are relevant and appropriate in the circumstances to come to that decision.

The only requirement in law is that the employer’s decision is not based on discriminatory grounds. That means that it should not base its decision on factors relating to gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. If its decision is based on any of these, there will be a potential case of discrimination and the affected person can potentially take this further. However, in the absence of any discriminatory reasons, the employer will rarely be acting unlawfully and will have the general power to be selective over who it employs.

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

Yes but they were all treated the same way. They put them all on zero hrs contracts and now the have moved the goal posts. They didnt want rid of my husband he worked for them for 29 yrs had long srrvice watch! But now its not fair that he cant have his job back

Ben Jones :

It is not fair, I agree, but it is not illegal - the employer is free to decide who they employ as long as they do not discriminate against candidates and I see no evidence there has been any discrimination here

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

So an employer can change the contract make people unhappy enough to leave then offer up the jobs again as they were before the contracts changed cos they have no staff left and they say the boys cant reapply thats legal???? Hmm I cant see it.

Ben Jones :

I did not say that what has happened so far is fair or legal - that is a separate issue and the current issue is the application for the new job. What has happened in the past that led to his termination is now irrelevant - he is too late to do anything about it and challenge it legally so the only issue we have at present is the application for the new job and as mentioned that is not unlawful, as long as it is not based on discriminatory grounds

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

But his boss asked him to come back and put inan

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

Sorry his boss asked him to come back its human resources saying he cant til after a year. Its that part I want to clarify?

Ben Jones :

until he has been formally offered a job back with them they do not owe him a job and do not have to even consider his application, regardless of what he may have been promised

Ben Jones :

what his boss has said is all informal, he has not been given a formal job offer which he has accepted

Ben Jones :

there is no legal contract in place for this job

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

No because hr are telling his boss he cant come back. So when can someone who takes redundancy reapply for his own job then?

Ben Jones :

there are no restrictions, they can reapply at any time but that is not the point - it is one thing to apply for a job, which they can, it is another for the employer to refuse to consider their application or refuser to employ them - as mentioned they can do that at any time as long as it is not based on discrimination

Ben Jones :

I am sorry I know it seems unfair but it is not illegal, there is a big difference between the two

Ben Jones :

the law does not recognise what one may generally consider morally wrong

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

Sorry but u dont get it. They messed up big time up here fryinv

Ben Jones :

I certainly get it, you have to remember that what has happened in the past is completely irrelevant, he may have been unfairly dismissed but that has no relevance on his present application. His employment has terminated - that is a fact. He is now applying for a job with them and they do not owe it to him to give him his job back, or even consider him for the job, they can ignore his application. What has happened in the lead up to his termination is not something he can challenge now - the time limit has already passed

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

By putting all the guys on to zero hrs. They all left and now realizjng the zero hrs was a mistake they are advertising again and the guys cant apply. Yhats utterly ridiculous

Ben Jones :

he had 3 months to challenge the dismissal, he has not done so and as such his rights have elapsed in that respect. We are now dealing with a completely new issue

Ben Jones :

and as far as that is concerned, the employer has not done anything wrong

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

He wasnt unfairly dismissed he chose to leave because they changed the contracts to zero hrs

Ben Jones :

same thing - dismissed or chose to leave - the time limit to challenge is the same, he cannot challenge the termination of his employment any more, he is out of time

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

But they have only just advertised the jobs as no staff left. He wants to apply but they ard saying hd

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

He has to wait 12 months.

JACUSTOMER-bqbttgde- :

H

Ben Jones :

I understand but I am repeating myself now - it is completely irrelevant how he left, why he left, etc. They do not have to consider him for this job - they have no legal obligation to do so, simple as that. They are free to decide whether to employ him or not regardless of why he left them in the past

Ben Jones :

There is nothing in it for me to give you this answer, knowing it is not what you want to hear, but I have to tell you what your rights are and it does mean delivering bad news, so please don't shoot the messenger....

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