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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50144
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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In an internal interview process as part of a restructure,

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In an internal interview process as part of a restructure, one of three members of the panel is the parent of one of the candidates, Something that all candidates knew before the interviews as did the company - they had been working together for years. No challenge was made to this prior to the interviews apart by the candidate who was related to the panel member who asked not to be interviewed by their parent. They were told that they had to be as all candidates had to be interviewed by the same panel, they were reassured that they would not be disadvantaged by this process in any way. Successful staff have not had formal offer letters and started in their new roles 3 days ago. One unsuccessful candidate has now said the process was unfair because of the relationship and the union has challenged this. The company is saying all candidates need to be reinterviewed, those who have started their new roles and those who did not get an offer. The scores of the panel member who was related where removed from the final scores were removed to see if this affected the result - it did not. Can the company do this are they not breaking employment law - staff have had a formal offer of a job, also disadvantaging a member of staff who is now being discriminated by being related to a manager, also they are now saying the process they instructed the manager and staff member to follow is wrong - their process

Hello what is your involvement in all of this please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was part of the interview panel, I was recently appointed to the service manager and interviewed staff for posts as part of a restructure process one of the candidates was my daughter. This was not hidden, she did request I not interview her and was told this was not possible, 2 other senior managers were on the panel 4 staff lost posts at this stage other opps. one got reduced hours, all scores from panel members were the same
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sorry should read staff HAVE HAD FORMAL OFFER LETTERS, started new roles 1st August
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
are we not going to give me any advice?!-

Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. The employer would not have done anything unlawful by including the parent of one of the candidates in the interviewing panel. There is certainly nothing specific in law which prohibits that. There may have been an internal policy that deals with this and if there was, it should have been followed, but apart from that it is completely legal for this to have happened, especially if it was not challenged prior to the interviews. The only potential issues would arise if it can be shown that there has been favouritism by this panel member when scoring their relation. However, in this case, you have demonstrated that here was no favouritism because even if you had removed the scores of that person, the outcome would have been the same. So it would be rather difficult for the others to try and argue that there has been an unfair selection procedure applied. I think he employer may only be considering re-running the process under pressure from the union and to avoid any potential issues in the future. However, if this was to go down the legal route, those unsuccessful candidates who are challenging the process would need to provide evidence that by having this relationship in the interviewing process, they were placed at a disadvantage to an extent that it cost them the chance to get offered one of the vacant positions. From what you have said, this is likely to be difficult. You will be at greater risk rescinding the offers already made and re-running the process.

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