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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Jones I am Principal Teacher of English in a Secondary

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I am Principal Teacher of English in a Secondary school in Renfrewshire. When appointed to the post 19 years ago, I did not require 'Church Approval' which is now mandatory for all jobs in Catholic schools in Renfrewshire.
The Local Authority has decided to create a Faculty amalgamating Modern Languages and English. In order to apply for this post I will require said 'Approval'.
In conscience, I cannot seek the approval of that institution.
I feel that I am being discriminated against on the grounds that my previous suitability has been compromised by the demand for approval.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What exactly are your reasons for not wishing to seek such approval and what will happen if you do not get it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not believe that i should have to seek the approval of an institution ie the Catholic Church, which has been the biggest perpetrator of child abuse and its concealment.
If I do not seek approval then I cannot apply for the Faculty post.
As a result I would be on conserved salary for 3 years and then return to being a class teacher with a drop in salary of £15,000.
I feel that my conditions of employment have changed without my knowledge.
The main argument here would have been that of potential religious discrimination because you are required to seek the approval of a religious body to which you do not belong or believe in. However, this has been through the legal system and the courts have decided that the Church is able to have such a policy in place where they must give their approval to allow employees to work in specific schools or in specific posts. You can read more about this here: Therefore, your employer can require you to seek approval before making you eligible to apply for certain positions requiring such approval. This may indeed be viewed by you as a change of contract or even discrimination but in reality it is a requirement under legislation and a practice confirmed as lawful by the courts which has prompted this. No one can force you to seek approval of the Church but at the same time you cannot force the employer to consider you for a post which requires such approval. In the end you have to decide what is more important to you – sticking to your principals or missing out on certain opportunities in work. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The tes article was very informative that this is, in law, the right of the Local Authority to demand approval.
Is there any traction in the fact that I was appointed 19 years ago without approval and that the LA have moved the religious goalposts subsequently deeming me unfit in that regard to apply for the new post?
Would they consider the amalgamated/ Faculty post to be a new job for which approval is required regardless of the criteria for my original appointment.
The issue is that you are arguing in relation to your suitability to apply for a new position. By law, the employer can deny anyone the opportunity to apply for a new post or they can reject an applicant for more or less any reason, even if they are the most suitable or qualified for it. The only exception is that they cannot make such decisions based on discriminatory grounds, such as on grounds of religion. This would have been the main argument here, however as mentioned it has been held in court that this practice is not religious discrimination. So the only avenue you could have pursued for challenging the decision of not being able to apply for this position is not actually unlawful. Whilst the new post may contain large chunks of what you do now, it is a new position so if you are being moved into it as a new appointment then they can apply this new criteria. In fact it could even be possible for them to dismiss you if there is no other opportunity available where you could be slotted in. So it is a moral battle for you personally I’m afraid and a decision you will have to make based on what you see as more important – your principles or your career.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much.
Simple, unemotional,factual.
Better to embrace one's disappointment than travel in false hope.
Thanks again.
Thank you. Yes, I do try to be to the point when I can (sometimes to my detriment) as I find that sugar-coating a situation can often lead to future disappointment and I believe that it is important for someone to know where they stand from the outset. Sorry for any disappointment but I hope your rights are a bit clearer know.