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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48795
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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hi there, can you advise please? i have been working as a

Resolved Question:

hi there,
can you advise please?
i have been working as a sales agent for a company for 9 years with very sucessful figures and covering the whole of scotland. the company have recently decided to terminate some of the agents contracts and re vamp the areas to extend them and then create field sales representative posts. this has been done for my area and i have been involved in working out the new area and have had my contract as an agent terminated 9with a cash pay off) i was encouraged to apply for the new position which covers scotland and the north of england to durham. i live in midlothian which is an ideal location to cover all areas of the new territory and was happy to apply for the new position and was encouraged to do so by the company. i applied and the company did the recruitment and selection via a recruitment agency. i put in my cv. i have now been told that because of my location that i am not going to continue in the selection process and only those 2 applicants who live in the newcastle and durham area have to be interviewed. now the question here is, the initial advert for the job never stated that the applicants needed to live within a certain postcode area. is this allowed/ my experience etc is without doubt the best for the job as i have been doing it for 9 years, so the discrimination is solely on the geograpical location that i live in and as the brief fro the position stated these areas & scotland, the recruitment company have ruled me out. where do i stand with this? is it allowed? surely the job spec and description should specify where the person needs to live in order to apply???
any thought or suggestions much appreciated.
regards
Julia
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were you working on a self employed basis before your termination?

Customer:

i was

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

By the way are you Scottish or just live there?

Customer:

am scottish and also live 10 miles south of edinburgh

Customer:

the company is a southern irish company but is worldwide

Ben Jones :

Generally, 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 factors 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 whom it employs, even if it this generally appears to be unfair.


 


In your case the only potential defence you will have working in your favour is potential race discrimination because that covers nationality and national origins. So if the employer cannot justify why you, as someone who is Scottish and lives in Scotland, is not suitable for the position on other grounds that are not related to your national origins, it could be discrimination. You can certainly raise this argument with them but if they fail to agree and you are still not considered, then the only way to challenge this is by making a claim for race discrimination in the employment tribunal.

Customer:

ok, i doubt i would take it that far as how would i prove its nationality discrimination? and i am not prepared to go down the route of this and an employment tribunal.

Customer:

thank you for your answer.

Ben Jones :

Yes I understand that litigation may not be your preferred choice, but it does not stop you from raising this argument with them and even threatening to go down that route, hoping they would change their mind. The tribunal route is just in the event they refuse and you want to take it further.

Customer:

actually, re reading tyour response, how would i raise the question??

Customer:

or raise the argument?

Ben Jones :

Well directly with them, in writing preferably, saying that you believe their decision amounts to race discrimination on grounds of nationality or national origins and for them to justify why it is not.

Customer:

i could ask the company, who i still am working for until the agency termination date of 31/5.14 to explain why? i think its the recruitment agency just setting the criteria based on the location and the brief from the company saying this area needs covered?

Customer:

would i raise the question with the recruitment agency or the company?

Customer:

and is there a timescale that this needs to be done in? what would the likely outcomes be of the argument raised? and the threat of going down a tribunal route?

Ben Jones :

You should ask the organisation that made the decision, so if you know who that was it would be with them you raise this. The sooner the better - a claim must be made within 3 months of the discriminating act so the time scales are quite tight. I can't predict the outcome of this but it could be that they consider the threat of this going further as an unnecessary risk and relax the rules they imposed at the outset, allowing you to at least be considered based on merits

Customer:

so the company will have made the brief for the job spec and the recruitment agency is the organisation that made the selection. so company or recruitment organisation?

Customer:

is there a draft letter type that i shoud use as a template?

Ben Jones :

I can't say who made the decision based on that information I'm afraid, it could be either but there is nothing stopping you from writing to both. No template as such, just using the above information as a basis for writing your own letter

Customer:

ok, thank you.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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