Anti-TA discrimination in employment

#1
The topic of discrimination in employment, or in applying for employment, has arisen on another thread. It deserves a bigger audience.

TA soldiers are weakly protected against discrimination

Members of the Reserve Forces are protected by the Reserve Forces Act against certain forms of discrimination by their employer. However, that protection has many holes in it. Furthermore, it is left to the soldier to enforce the protection, except in very rare cases where employers have been prosecuted for the criminal offence of not keeping a soldier's job open while mobilised.

The MoD does not perceive a need to improve the protection

The Ministry of Defence does not acknowledge any need to enhance the level of protection or ensure its enforcement. The reason for its stance is that it claims only to be aware of rare instances of employment discrimination. But the reason it is not aware is that it has never actually conducted a proper survey of those who have been affected, or potentially affected by discrimination because they were in the TA or were considering joining.

A survey

So, let's conduct the survey here. Obviously, you don't have to answer all the questions (or any of them) if you don't want to.

1. For a reason directly related to membership of the TA (as opposed to performance at work), have you, or has someone you know, ever :

(a) been dismissed?
(b) been turned down for promotion?
(c) been denied training or secondment opportunity?

If the employer gave another reason but you believe the real reason was membership of the TA, please explain.

2. Have you ever been told by a career adviser or recruitment consultant not to mention your TA membership in your CV? If so, why?

3. Have you ever applied for a job and not got it because, you believe, of your membership of the TA?

4. If you are an employer (or work in a position where you have the capacity to do any of the following), have you ever a reason directly related to their membership of the TA:

(a) dismissed someone?
(b) turned them down for promotion?
(c) denied them a training or secondment opportunity?
(d) rejected a job application.

If so, please give your reasons.

My reasons for doing this

We deserve better protection. We perform a function which society should value, just as it does the role of women in producing babies. But unless it can be shown that members of the TA are facing discrimination on a widespread basis, no improvement will come. Also, it's been at least four weeks since I have stirred some sh1t. :wink:
 
#2
Also, don't want to distract from t' survey (cos it would be interesting for me to see).

On a separate note. My employer is the NHS. When i asked about any local policy relating to being in the TA (ie additional time off etc.) I was told that the old "whitley council" rules apply. This means that in effect, I get an extra week off each year for annual camp, as long as my boss has allowed me to be a member of the TA. Surely this is self defeating because you would have to ask your bosses permission to do something which would mean he would get one less week of work from you each year, and still pay you for it out of his budget? That would require an unbelievably enlightened boss, as opposed to the poisoned dwarf I work for. Does anybody know if there is an overarching NHS policy on supporting the TA in it's membership?
 
#3
I can truly relate to a lot of the comments posted here.

I was mobilised on Telic 2 and went with my employers blessing - they even asked me if I wanted them to appeal to which I basically replied "Please dont, I'd like to go" Upon return, fitting back in wasn't easy at all and I recieved only limited support which really affected my morale, so much so that I wasn't performing in my role and was demoted to a much lesser job. Once in the 'lesser' job I was being managed by people who were previously my peers and it was gut wrenching to say the least - I'm a proud guy and things like this hurt so eventually I felt my only option was to leave!!

On applying for other jobs, I was proud to put TA service on it but I really shot myself in the foot in doing so - I was getting turned down for jobs I would have breezed in to beforehand!! My advice is dont tell prospective employers you are in the TA because most of them dont understand your contribution to your country and frankly, they dont give a damn!!

TA units don't seem to care about you once you're back, the hierarchy are just patting themselves on the back at the prestige you, and others bring to the unit through your mobilisation!!

Nowadays I don't put Service in the TA on my CV because you are, and I definitely have been, discriminated against - both in the workplace and when applying for other jobs.

The Reserve Forces is only a part time job but sometimes it can have a much bigger impact than simply working in a pub for 16 hours a week. You have to ensure your civvy career comes first because that pays the mortgage/bills doesn't it?! If you dont take care of this, and get your priorities right, or you too may end up in a position like mine, or worse!
 
#5
bazzinho said:
Also, don't want to distract from t' survey (cos it would be interesting for me to see).

On a separate note. My employer is the NHS. When i asked about any local policy relating to being in the TA (ie additional time off etc.) I was told that the old "whitley council" rules apply. This means that in effect, I get an extra week off each year for annual camp, as long as my boss has allowed me to be a member of the TA. Surely this is self defeating because you would have to ask your bosses permission to do something which would mean he would get one less week of work from you each year, and still pay you for it out of his budget? That would require an unbelievably enlightened boss, as opposed to the poisoned dwarf I work for. Does anybody know if there is an overarching NHS policy on supporting the TA in it's membership?
Yes - details are available in the poilcy documents on the intranet - I daresay they vary slightly from trust to trust.
 
#6
Xplosiverab said:
Can you not get fucked for not disclosing it on your application form?
Technically, you're meant to tell your employer that you are a member of the Reserve Forces - all I'm saying mate is use your discretion. If it's a job that's too good to turn down comes along, nice Monday to Friday number and you're prepared to use holidays for camp/courses, then Mr Employer need not know. If mobilisation happens, deal with it at the time!!
 
#7
I worked for a firm for four yours during which I considered joining TA - when discussed with my area manager ( who was a good guy ) I was told it would not be acceptable and would lead to dismissal - the TA would not be considered a reason but they would find some other way and there are plenty out there.
 
#8
Cutsy said:
Xplosiverab said:
Can you not get fucked for not disclosing it on your application form?
Technically, you're meant to tell your employer that you are a member of the Reserve Forces - all I'm saying mate is use your discretion. If it's a job that's too good to turn down comes along, nice Monday to Friday number and you're prepared to use holidays for camp/courses, then Mr Employer need not know. If mobilisation happens, deal with it at the time!!
I thought that once you passed CMSR your unit *will* inform your employer that you are a reservist.

In other words, you can not tell them but they'll find out anyway. In which case, it's presumably usually (and I acknowledge there will be exceptions) better to tell them yourself in the first place.
 
#9
Xplosiverab said:
Can you not get fucked for not disclosing it on your application form?
You can get yourself into trouble if you fail to tell your potential employer anything you can reasonably be expected to think they would want to know - such as being in the TA - as they may perceive withholding details as dishonesty and use that as grounds for dismissal. Some recommend leaving reserve forces membership off the CV and coming clean at the interview, I'm not so sure - interviewers don't like surprises.

The bottom line is that if an employer wishes to exclude all reserve forces they can, by simply asking you. If you say yes, no job. If you say no but turn out to be in then they sack you for lying to them.

Returning to the thread topic, I have no idea how you would find out how many firms sift CVs using TA membership as a reason for rejection. Indeed, I wouldn't expect to ever find out as without discrimination legislation there's no way to get access to their records.
 
#10
OOTS said:
You can get yourself into trouble if you fail to tell your potential employer anything you can reasonably be expected to think they would want to know - such as being in the TA - as they may perceive withholding details as dishonesty and use that as grounds for dismissal.
You are right. Equally, if a woman is pregnant when she applies for a job, she should tell her employer. However, the law says that the employer cannot lawfully use that fact in any way at all when considering whether to employ her.

If she hides her pregnancy during the application process, then tells her employer she is pregnant and is subsequently dismissed, that dismissal will automatically be unfair because it is for a reason connected with her pregnancy - even though the reason is also connected with her failure to disclose a relevant fact.

We are under the same obligation to disclose during the application process. We should have the same degree of protection, though, both during the application process and once we are hired.

OOTS said:
I have no idea how you would find out how many firms sift CVs using TA membership as a reason for rejection. Indeed, I wouldn't expect to ever find out as without discrimination legislation there's no way to get access to their records.
That's why I am asking whether anyone reading this has, themselves, done such a sift on behalf of their employer.

Surely surveys of this kind must have been carried out prior to the race and sex discrimination legislation being introduced, using all sorts of oblique methods of getting at the facts. They hardly went around asking people: "When was the last time you discriminated against a black person?"
 
#12
The results of this survey probably need some sifting to identify problems associated with the various subsets we see in the TA. I would expect the 18 year old who only does 3 years including a tour to be relatively unaffected. Maybe they do a tour as a gap year thing between education and a job, maybe they jack their job in to go - but don't care as it didn't offer a career, maybe they go regular. They get out at 21 and the world is still the shellfish of their choice.

However, at the older and crustier end of the scale (ie me) things are not looking good. I did not return to my job (with a fully paid up SABRE member defence company) as it was very clear that I was up for the chop in the next reshuffle. Nothing written, no official conversations but when I got in contact to sound them out about an extension for Telic the message was clear - and it was nothing to do with the extension, wheels were already in motion. In fact I was lucky - if I hadn't wanted to extend I wouldn't have rung round and would have a nasty surprise on returning. So I extended my mobilisation, got to be around for Telic and used the time to look for a job (UK post fortunately). Of course that meant resigning from the company, so officially no problem existed.

Which brings up a more general problem, no-one who sees this kind of issue on the horizon is going to let themselves be put out of work if they can help it. They'll do what I do, sort something out and avoid unemployment. That does mean that there is no hard evidence that problems exist.

One of my colleagues has been blocked from a promotion at work for being in - senior manager requires commitment, and being liable for one year in three away from the company does not count as committed. And if I ran a company I'd probably agree.

Finally, these problems have never been formally reported - as no mechanism exists to do this. Any survey would find ample evidence of problems, but nine has been conducted.
 
#13
I understand that one survey was in fact conducted.

A certain CO bleated that his lads needed more employment protection. So the MoD surveyed the guys in his unit, asking whether any of them had been discriminated against. They said they hadn't. Therefore, said the MoD, there is no problem: and if you say there is, provide proof which defeats our rigorous survey.

The problem with the MoD's "survey" is that it was cack. They didn't see fit to subject themselves to the same strict scientific criteria they want us to meet. They were surveying those members of the regiment who were still in: in other words, those least likely to have been subject to serious discrimination. To have got a fuller picture, they should also have interviewed:

(a) those who had left the unit because of the discrimination the CO was reporting;
(b) people who had considered joining the TA but decided against, because of their employer's express or implied attitude to the TA;
(c) employers and those in HR departments; and
(d) recruitment professionals

But for some reason they neglected to do so. Probably just forgot.
 
#14
danielsan said:
I worked for a firm for four yours during which I considered joining TA - when discussed with my area manager ( who was a good guy ) I was told it would not be acceptable and would lead to dismissal - the TA would not be considered a reason but they would find some other way and there are plenty out there.
Surely under Section 17 Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 that would be illegal. See Cpl Wright vs Randle's Garages!!
 
#15
One_of_the_strange said:
...I have no idea how you would find out how many firms sift CVs using TA membership as a reason for rejection. Indeed, I wouldn't expect to ever find out as without discrimination legislation there's no way to get access to their records.
Fair point OOTS - and I doubt that Sabre dwell too deeply on the "just how much sh1t would you be in as an employer, when your employee is mobilised?" Of course, all those years ago, when the TA was effctively the planned war-fighting reserve, with PSO's being voluntary, the employers generally went along and supported the employee. Nowadays, as cited in numerous threads on these boards, TA membership basically guarantees mobilised service, and as the last "golden figure" of 16,000 indicates all too well, that the "risk" to the employer is greater than ever before.

Cutsy's situation is not uncommon, and closely mirrors my experiences, having been mobilised for TELIC 1.

I guess also that as the commitments from Whitehall become greater, more soldiers, both TA and regular are going to suffer at the CV sifting stage. As we appear to be draining the TA resource, my thinking is that within the next five years, that we will witness many more regular reservists being mobilised from their' post regular, civi employment. So, logically, this is a real concern for all you regular readers who submit three pages of your life and times in the UK military, with every job application. Yes, some employers will bite your hand off to employ you, but I sense the number of "anti-military involvement" employers is growing with every new mobilisation.

And regarding the "Has anyone had to do this sifting for their' employer" question. Maybe the question would be better answered through a MOD / Sabre sponsored survey of all employers who currently employ TA or Regular Reservists. It's not as if they don't know how to contact them - with or without the soldire's permission / knowledge.
 
#17
Yes, it would be illegal. However, it would be up to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute the employer - and then, only after danielsan had been sacked. And even if the employer is prosecuted, the fine is tiny.

The right not to be dismissed on the basis of membership of the TA should be broadened so that it becomes a right which can be enforced by the TA member in the employment tribunal.

In addition, the MoD should redeploy some of its lawyers away from hassling/prosecuting members of the Armed Forces and onto the task of protecting and representing them.
 
#18
I have recently applied for a job - being TA was definately a negative issue for them until they realised that they might be able to use it to impress the client - the MOD!

I think the major problem for them was that they had never employed TA before even though they employ around 250 people and didn't know anything about it. Potential call-up was a bit of a problem as well.

In my previous job they were really worried that I would abuse the situation to take loads of time off as I insisted that they didn't cap the time allowed for TA/unpaid leave
 
#19
Moonraker_Cav said:
danielsan said:
I worked for a firm for four yours during which I considered joining TA - when discussed with my area manager ( who was a good guy ) I was told it would not be acceptable and would lead to dismissal - the TA would not be considered a reason but they would find some other way and there are plenty out there.
Surely under Section 17 Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 that would be illegal. See Cpl Wright vs Randle's Garages!!
Yup - but how do you prove it ? Any employer with more than one brain cell is not going to admit to acting unlawfully, hence the "some other way" part. I understand that if a woman gets pregnant then suddenly gets sacked for "unconnected" reasons the onus is on the employer to show that it's unconnected and that the standard of proof required is set very high. In the analogous join the TA then suddenly get sacked for "unconnected" reasons scenario the onus is on the reservist to show they're connected. That's a hell of a difference in terms of how easy it is to fight the case.

Edited to include Dr Evil's input about employment tribunals. The pregnant woman gets the ball rolling by filling in form ET1 and gets her case heard at an employment tribunal - designed for ease of use by employees, the sacked reservist has to hope the Police and CPS are sufficiently interested to get their case moving. Again, tjat is a huge difference in the standard of proof required.
 
#20
Moonraker_Cav said:
Surely under Section 17 Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 that would be illegal. See Cpl Wright vs Randle's Garages!!
Ok then... with no need for thought and banging this out in 20 seconds flat:
Dear Mr Stab

Thank you for your enquiry about why you were unsuccesful in this recruitment exercise. As an Investor in People we are more than happy to give feedback on your application.

While your application was of a high standard it was felt that other candidates had better developed skills and were better able to amply demonstrate the competencies required in this role.

I would like to thank you for your interest and (blah did blah di blah have a nice life, loser)

regards

Mr Civvie


Go on then - take it to court. Employment legislation isn't the point. What can be done about it? Chuff all. It's part of being in the TA these days. Possibly SaBRE might be able to make employers see the benefits, but it's a tall order.
 

Similar threads

Top