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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50156
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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An American based church in Exeter recently advertised for

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An American based church in Exeter recently advertised for an additional minister. Some qualified and experienced English ministers applied but were rejected in favour of a US national with far less experience and none in the UK. This man was granted a visa to live in the UK for 3 years. Should the employing church have given preference to the UK ministers who were better qualified and more experienced?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you think the sole, or main, reason for selecting that minister was his nationality?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Partly, but the UK applicants, whilst holding official UK ordination credentials, were told they needed credentials from the US denomination, which are not actually officially recognised in the UK, and their UK credentials would not be accepted.
So I assume that if a UK national had the credentials from a US denomination, there would be no problem with appointing them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That is probably the case. But the US church might easily simply recognise the UK minister's ordination, which often happens when UK ministers move from one denomination to another. One minister was also told he was not suitable to be a pastor even though he had been a pastor in UK churches for 20 years.
At first sight this may appear to be indirect race discrimination because there is a principle, criterion or practice which places people of a particular race or nationality at a disadvantage. In this case you need credentials from the US denomination which may place local applicants (i.e. UK nationals) at a disadvantage when compared to US applicants. The issue is that race discrimination law allows employers to provide a defence to potential discrimination by showing that this was a genuine occupational requirement. So if the church can show why an employee needs to have gained their credentials in the USA in order to work in a particular role, there won't have been any discrimination. It is irrelevant what one could do in the USA with UK credentials, they will have to justify why it is a requirement that to have US credentials to work for them in the UK. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps open to you to challenge this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Thank you. If you wish to try and challenge this, as you are not employed by them the only way would be through a tribunal claim for race discrimination. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your help.
You are most welcome