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Redundant permanent employees can be redeployed in preference to long serving agency workers

31 October 2014 #Employment

An agency worker, who worked for the Ministry of Defence for 8 years, has failed in his attempt to claim that his employer had failed to comply with the obligation under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 which provides, "An agency worker has during an assignment the right to be informed by the hirer of any relevant vacant posts with the hirer, to give that agency worker the same opportunity as a comparable worker to find permanent employment with the hirer.

An employment tribunal found that the Ministry of Defence gave agency workers access to the Civil Service Jobs website and, had the agency worker activated his account on the website, he would have received details of his post being advertised. Also, given the size of the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Service Jobs website is an appropriate way of informing staff of vacant posts. The Ministry of Defence`s arrangements for informing agency workers of relevant vacant posts met the requirements of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

Interestingly, the tribunal also found that even if the agency worker had been given information on the vacancy, the Civil Service recruitment scheme meant that his application would have been rejected on the basis that he was ineligible. The tribunal considered that neither domestic nor European legislation prevents an employer from giving priority when vacancies arise to permanent staff who are at risk of redundancy and/or have been placed in a redeployment pool during a restructure.

The employment tribunal declined the claimant`s request to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. The wording of the Temporary Agency Work Directive and its implementation in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 raised little scope for doubt. (Coles v Ministry of Defence ET/1603792/2013).

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