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Temp workers ‘not entitled’ to be interviewed for permanent post

Posted: 17th September 2015   In: Business Employment

Temporary workers have the right to be informed of vacancies at the company employing them but that doesn’t automatically entitle them to be interviewed for any particular post.

Employers are also justified in giving preference to permanent employees who are facing the threat of redundancy.

Those were the findings of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a case involving a temporary worker at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The worker had been engaged by an agency to work temporarily for the MoD. After a restructure, the MoD placed over 500 of its permanent employees into a redeployment pool. Those employees were given priority over other applicants for vacant posts. The post which the worker had been filling was advertised internally as a permanent position.

An employee from the redeployment pool was appointed. The temporary worker did not see the advert and did not apply. Had he done so, he would not have been appointed because the permanent employee would have been given priority over him.

The worker claimed that the MoD had breached reg. 13 of the Agency Workers Regulations, which provided that agency workers had "the right to be informed by the hirer of any relevant vacant posts with the hirer, to give the agency worker the same opportunity as a comparable worker to find permanent employment with the hirer".

The tribunal concluded that although the employee should have been informed about the vacancy, employers were entitled to give priority to redundant employees over temporary agency workers.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld that decision. It held that the regulation was designed to give temporary agency workers the same chance as other workers of finding permanent employment. It had nothing to say about the terms on which there should be recruitment for any post. If an employer wished to give preference to those being redeployed, he was entitled to do so.

Please contact Robert Bedford about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.