Scrase Law Employment Solicitors

No requirement to interview agency worker

Mr Coles was an agency worker supplied to the Defence Housing Executive (part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD)).  At the time of his assignment a large number of the MOD’s own staff were placed into a redeployment pool as a result of internal restructuring.  These employees had priority for any vacancies at their existing grade.

The work being carried out by Mr Coles was advertised, the advertisement being available to Mr Coles.  However Mr Coles neither looked at the advert not applied for the job which was then filled by one of the MOD staff from within the redeployment pool.

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 require that agency workers must have access to information about job vacancies at the hirer and to have the “same opportunity as a comparable worker to find permanent employment with the hirer”.  Mr Coles argued that the MOD had failed to inform him of the role and had denied him the opportunity to apply for the role and therefore had breached its obligations under the regulations.

An employment tribunal and subsequently the EAT did not agree.  The EAT noted that the scope of the regulations is narrow, it does not require that workers are treated ‘no less favourably’ than non-agency workers.  The requirement to provide agency workers with the “same opportunity” to find permanent employment placed them on the same footing as non-agency workers, it did not give agency workers any additional rights, such as the right to an interview.

Coles v Ministry of Defence [2015] UKEAT 0403/15

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