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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Hiya, Im a 36 year old woman who recently got a job with

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I'm a 36 year old woman who recently got a job with the ambulance service as an Emergency Care Assistant (similar to trainee Paramedic) but they withdrew their offer a week and a half before my start date.

It had always been my dream to be a paramedic but children and life etc had prevented me from pursuing it. I finally applied last year, I sat their driving test, highway code test, group interaction test, manual handling test and an inteview, all of which I successfully passed and was told I had the job (pending the relevent checks and documentation presentation). I needed 3 GCSEs (Maths, English and 1 other). I had problems finding my GCSE certificates (which they knew about from the start) but as I have never been asked to present them since a teenager, I continued searching for them in both my new house and my mother's house where I grew up. I was told I could apply to the examining boards for statements of grades but not knowing which boards I took them with meant I had to apply to all which would cost a couple of hundred pounds that I could not afford as a single mam.

I was starting to run out of time when I finally found 1 certificate (although I also saw that there was one subject that I got an F in on the same certificate but as I only needed 3 GCSEs, I didn't think it mattered) I had been told that as an acceptable equivalent for the other grades, I could sit the Maths and English level 2 with Learn Direct, so I did, passed and sent the pass statements to HR. They told me that this was not good enough as it had to be a proper certificate not a statement (but would've accepted obtained statements from the boards!) the certificates came through quite quickly so I sent it to them. With all the to-ing and fro-ing of paperwork, I did keep forgetting to post things but when it was spotted I told them so they were kept up to date, my mother even travelled over to personally deliver the ones that were forgotten!)

They then withdrew my employment offer by letter which I received on a Saturday, a week and a half before I was due to start so would then be out of a job as notice at my then current employment had been agreed. I replied immediately by email asking them to reconsider and why. I called them on the Monday but after being given the run around for a couple of days, I finally managed to explain my home circumstances (very sick Grandmother I was caring for, single mam, working full time and no money but didn't explain before because as potential employers, I wanted to make a good impression not just make excuses) they said it all still stands, that it was on my file that I was dishonest (because on my application it stated that I had passed all subjects when there was one that I got an F in, also because I said I would send the proof then didn't) and I would never be allowed to obtain a trusting employment role with them ever again and if I ever did apply then it would be thrown out immediately!

Having had my dream squashed forever, being tarnished with being dishonest and losing my last job in preparation to start with the Ambulance Service...Would you say I had a case against them please?

Thank you. Nikki. xx

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the offer specifically conditional on you producing those certificates?

Customer: Hiya, Yes I assume so.
Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Customer: No problem, thank you.
Ben Jones :

Your rights will be rather limited in case I’m afraid. First of all your offer of employment was conditional on you producing the required certificates, which you failed to do. Regardless of the reasons for not being able to provide what they required of you, they have the right to be picky and expect the specific documents they had asked for. If they are not happy they could have withdrawn your offer because it was still conditional, it was not guaranteed.


Even if you had been offered the job, there is no guarantee you would have remained in it because in the first 2 years of your employment you are not protected against unfair dismissal. This means you could be dismissed quite easily (and legally) simply by being given your contractual notice period, or in the absence of one – just a week’s notice. So even if you try and claim for breach of contract due to their withdrawal of the offer, your compensation would not be much because you would have only been entitled to a short notice period from them.


As to any other future opportunities that you could try for, 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 who it employs, even if it this generally appears to be unfair.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer: Ok, thank you for that. I understand what you have said and yes of course, if the employer has any concerns about a potential employee then they won't take the risk but the other problem is that my last job was working for the NHS Blood and Transplant and with the job at NHS Ambulance Service falling through means I intend to go back to the NHS but I'm nervous that they have unfairly tarnished my record with being dishonest. If they have then it means that the NHS won't employ me. Is there a way of finding out what their records say? Thanks.
Ben Jones :

Yes that is possible. Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 entitles an individual to request from a data controller a copy of any information which amounts to personal data about them. The process is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR).


If you wish to make a SAR, you need to write to the organisation that holds the data in question. Your letter should include the following information:

  • Make it clear that you are making a 'subject access request in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998';

  • Provide details of the data you are requesting copies of;

  • Your main personal details - full name, date of birth and address;

  • Any information you believe the organisation will require to find your information.


The organisation may ask for a fee to fulfil your request, which should not be more than £10. Once you have provided all the relevant information and fee, the organisation must send you a formal response within 40 days.


Particular care must be taken by the data controller not to disclose any non-relevant personal data (i.e. data that belongs to another individual) or other confidential information. Therefore, when responding to your request, they may remove data or be selective in what they supply, so long as this is justifiable. In addition, there is certain data that is exempt from discourse and that includes personal data held for personal, family or household affairs, confidential references given by the data controller for employment and personal data subject to legal privilege.

Customer: That's brilliant, thanks. If there is unjust or slanderous information written about me then how would I get it removed please?
Ben Jones :

the DPA also says that data must be accurate and up to date so you can rely on that if it does not satisfy these conditions

Customer: Sorry if I'm being ignorant but who are the DPA?
Ben Jones :

Sorry, it's the Data Protection Act, as mentioned above - the law that deals with your rights n personal data held about you

Customer: Yes of course! Well thank you so much for your knowledge on this. I'll leave the feedback for you now. Xx
Ben Jones :

You are welcome, all the best

Customer: You too. :D
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