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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6428
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I have recently returned from Dubai after representing the

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• I have recently returned from Dubai after representing the Welsh Government across the MENA region since 2004. I had previously worked for Central Government since 1978.
• 01st March 2004 - Opened the Welsh Government office for MENA. All Trade related jobs overseas were grade at Higher Executive Officer level, although WDA equivalent jobs at that time were graded at either Senior Executive Officer or higher; classified as Grade 7 (equivalent to the Deputy Consul General).
• My Welsh Government counterpart for the USA opened the an office at the same time and was also HEO grade;
• In 2009 the job role in MENA was subject to a review and it was agreed that the job should be upgraded to SEO level, but due to internal issues in Wales regarding the Economic Renewal Programme, the findings were not implemented.
• However, the role in the US was upgraded and my counterpart was able to apply for the position and was successfully appointed at the higher grade.
• The US job was again reviewed in 2012/13 and upgraded to G7 – again, Mr Cecchin was able to apply for the job and was successfully appointed at the higher grade.
• In December 2012, I was due to return to Wales at the end of my contract. But in April 2012, I was asked me to extend for 2 years as there was no succession plan in place.
• In December 2012, I was contacted by my Director and informed that I was being given a ‘personal promotion’ to SEO.
• In April 2014, I was informed that my contract would be extended until December 2016 and that I would be given Temporary Duty to G7.
• At no time was there a change in Job Description or an increase in responsibilities – but I was paid at the higher grade.
• I returned to Wales in March 2015.
• Between 2004 – 2012, I received annual assessments that were graded at either Box 1 or Box 2 which demonstrated that I worked substantially above the standard expected for the job.
• Between 2012 – 2015 I received no annual assessments – but was give two ‘outstanding’ grades prior to returning to the UK – demonstrating once again that I had exceeded expectations for the post and grade.
• In February 2015, a successor was appointed to the role as a permanent G7 for Middle East & North Africa and was upgraded on promotion from SEO.
• In 2013/14, another colleague within my department, whose role as ‘Overseas Office Manager’ was originally graded at HEO was informed that that role would be upgraded to SEO. She was able to apply for the job and was successfully appointed at the higher grade.
• I have subsequently been verbally informed that the reason that I was not offered the opportunity to apply for the MENA role on permanent promotion to SEO, but given a ‘Personal Promotion’ instead was because my Director in conjunction with the HR division did not want to risk me “failing an assessment board” which might have meant disruption to and the work of the overseas office. I was not consulted or offered the opportunity to take the assessment board, but I feel that based on my performance over the 11 year period for the Welsh Government and my performance prior to that with FCO/DTI, that I stood a very good chance of successfully passing the assessment and gaining promotion.
• I also understand that neither colleagues mentioned in this document ever needed to go through an assessment centre appraisal for each of their promotions.
I have requested that I should be allowed to leave under an early exit scheme but was told today that this would be unlikely to happen as my Director did not want to pay the costs from his budget.
I have been downgraded to HEO since returning and have since been given menial admin tasks (filing and data entry) and I now feel that I being treated in a way that would force me to leave without any kind of compensation. I have worked for Government since 1978.
Do I have a case against the Welsh Government for unfair treatment?
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What reason do you think the employer has for treating you in this way. Do you believe that there is any element of discrimination involved?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jenny - I do not think that this is a straightforward case of discrimination e.g. based on race, religion, sexuality etc. I do think that there is a degree of Senior Management incompetence, and/or taking easy options without considering the wider implications.

If my job description had not changed over 11 years then why was the grading (and pay) changed for me in 2012, when my counterparts over the years had the opportunity to bid for their posts at a higher grade. Is it not the case that the job was in fact a higher grade all along and they had just been paying me less between 2004 - 2012?

Who took the decision to prevent me from bidding for the position at a higher grade without consulting me? why was this decision made?

I cannot answer those questions and cannot get a straightforward answer from the HR manager.

I believe that it was easier to keep me overseas and pay me a higher salary on a temporary basis in order to keep the office operational. Clearly I was capable of carrying out all responsibilities at a higher level, as demonstrated by previous assessments.

Why was my counterpart in the USA treated more fairly than me? Why was he allowed to bid for the position at higher grades (twice) in the same time scale - but I was not permitted to do the same?

As I say, I cannot put this don to discrimination - but to my thinking I have been treated unfairly in comparison to colleagues without any clear reason.

Do I have case to retain the higher grading, or receive the appropriate level of pay at the higher grade backdated to 2004?



Have you raised a formal grievance with the employer about this situation?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Not at the moment. The HR manager said that should would look into it informally, but she has not got back to me. Sadly, this is not an unusual situation within the Civil Service.

I have held off from making an formal grievance as I now want to leave the organisation and have applied for severance. I worry that should I raise a formal grievance my director could put a barrier up and prevent me leaving, or worse still, create a situation whereby I am forced to leave with no compensation at all.

Before making a formal case I wanted to now (legally) whether I had a case and what the chances were that I could receive compensation dating back to 2004?

It is hard to claim back pay and back dated compensation in employment law in the manner that you describe. The only potential claim would be in breach of contract, or an underpayment lasting for a period of that time.
Your only real potential claim here is constructive dismissal, that is that the treatment of the employer is such that you are left with no alternative but to resign.
In order to be successful in such a claim it is essential that you raise a formal grievance as the claim will not succeed unless internal resolution is sought.
If you are on the point of leaving, especially if you are in the public sector, this could lead to discussion of severance and settlement agreements which may be something useful for you to be involved with. Any Settlement Agreement requires signature of a solicitor at the employer's expense and often they can negotiate a good settlement on your behalf.
If you have any further questions please do ask.
If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6428
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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