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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am an employee of thirteen

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I am an employee of thirteen years standing at a private College in London. I work at one of two campuses of the College which are going to be merged in September 2015. As part of the re-structuring of the organisation, a new organisational structure was announced to all staff at both campuses in a general meeting. It was announced that applications would be invited for a number of new positions being created at the level of Director of Studies, Director of Student Welfare plus a few sundry other 'Director of' posts. Job descriptions and personnel specifications were produced and several colleagues, like me, who occupy roles immediately below the 'Director of' roles applied for them. There are of course already colleagues who are Directors of Studies etc. at both campuses. The closing date for applications was Friday 24th January. I applied and received a letter from the Principal that same day saying how impressed the selection panel had been with my application and inviting me for an interview on the 7th February. Several other colleagues who are at my level received the same kind of letter. A few days later on the 29th January, I and several colleagues received letters saying that we would not be interviewed for our respective roles unless and until it was established that the existing Directors of Studies etc. (who may or may not have applied for the specific Director's roles that we had) had been given first refusal. They would let us know by February 11th. As there are already as many or more existing Directors as newly-designed Director posts and as the role carries a salary considerably above the grade below, it is highly unlikely that the existing Directors will turn down these new posts if the alternative is a pay cut or redundancy. Therefore, having been offered an interview, I will now certainly not be in the running for the post I applied for which was Director of Careers. Clearly the policy of appointment changed AFTER the jobs were internally advertised and interviews offered. Is this legal and even if I have accepted the situation as a fait accompli, can I use it as evidence of management's attitude to staff and their development in my organisation if, in the future, they attempt to fire me or make me redundant on unsubstantiated grounds. Thanks. Shafiq [email protected] XXXXXXXXXXX

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What would you like to achieve?

JACUSTOMER-t6wfh2kc- :

I simply want to know if my employer has clearly broken employment law through its behaviour as described in my description and

JACUSTOMER-t6wfh2kc- :

.....and, if so, I can use this as evidence of poor treatment in any future claim for redundancy compensation or in a dismissal proceeding.

Ben Jones :

Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues last night. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.


Is your grievance against not being given the opportunity to apply for these posts, even though an indication was given that you could? Will your position be at risk once the reorganisation takes place?

Customer: Yes, that is my grievance added to the fact, which I forgot to mention last night, that a colleague of mine who works in the department of which I am the head has been given an interview for a Director level post as have some others whose interviews have already taken place. My current position has not been guaranteed and may be at risk once the re-organisation takes place. S
Ben Jones :

Thank you. The legal position is that employers have the right to choose who they employ into vacant positions 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 main legal 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, even if it this generally appears to be unfair.


Another consideration is whether there is a specific policy which deals with this issue, for example a procedure where vacant posts must be advertised and all applicants given an interview. As such it is important to check if such a policy is in existence.


Failing that, your rights will also depend on what happens once your job actually becomes at risk – there is no requirement for the employer to offer you any job before that but once you are formally at risk and the consultation stage begins, the employer will have a duty to offer you any suitable alternative employment that exists at the time. So it would depend on what is actually on offer then, rather than now.

Ben Jones :

Before you try and exit chat can you please let me know if your original query has been answered or if you need me to clarify anything else in relation to it before I close this at my end?

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