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Urgent employment status query

(6 Posts)
RoseWei Sat 29-Sep-12 11:56:54

I am challenging serious aspects of my treatment as a standards verifier by a major exam board for whom I've been working for over two years. My work could be likened to that of an examiner but I verify scripts already assessed by centres.

Whether or not I can obtain support from ACAS depends on my employment status. The HMRC took kit indicates that I am employed - I have a (seasonal) contract that's terminated for a couple of months every year to avoid SVs having continuous employment. I am assigned to centres. I have a specific job to do. I invoice the Board once my work with the centre is done. Tax/NI are deducted by the Board at source.

Things have got to the point where I need help and possibly to take advantage of ACAS's mediation facility. For that reason my status is important. Can anyone kindly comment?

Re my teachers/lecturers union - when I phoned for support/advice, a regional rep told me that she knew nothing about exam boards and could not comment! If I change unions now, perhaps I wouldn't qualify for help as this would be seen as a pre-existing problem. Help and advice urgently needed - thanks!

flowery Sat 29-Sep-12 13:49:19

It sounds as though you may be employed yes, but surely it's ACAS's call in terms of whether they believe you are employed and will therefore help you? Presumably you've told them what you've said here about your employment status, so if on that basis they don't believe you are employed and have therefore refused to help you, our opinion on here won't mean much to them.

What aspect of your treatment is of concern? If you've only been employed a short time your employment rights are pretty limited anyway tbh.

RoseWei Sat 29-Sep-12 17:25:06

Thanks, flowery. ACAS were really undecided - referred me to HMRC and I've used the tool kit and will phone a real person on Monday to double check.

I've been with this exam board for 2 - 3 years - working solidly, no complaints. Negligible support from the board and appalling administration - really bad but I've stuck with it.

Out of the blue, last week, they sent me an email downgrading me, saying I'd get less work. Were unspecific re reasons. Just sent me a waffling list of general criteria and, to boot, added in the email that perhaps the situation was out of my control - still the decision to demote. Of course, I asked for specifics so that I could put together a focused appeal (appeal within 30 days they said was possible) but nothing has to date come.

And then today, shot out of the blue, a letter saying I was dismissed - no reason (just a repetition of the very general criteria) - no right of appeal - and all this within the appeal period of the original decision.

I've emailed, expressing concern at the contradictory messages and blatant injustice. But if, in the eyes of the law, I was deemed an employee, I'd be on stronger ground.

Any further thoughts/signposting - would be so gratefully received!

flowery Sat 29-Sep-12 17:56:35

How long have you been continously employed? If it's less than a year (or two years if service started since April) then they don't have to give reasons for dismissal, and as long as it's not for a list of specific reasons, mainly to do with discrimination, you can't claim unfair dismissal.

RoseWei Sat 29-Sep-12 19:58:20

I haven't been continuously employed, flowery. There's a period of about two months when we don't have a contract - the old one comes to and end and a new one starts up again. The original contract refers to contract work and says verifiers can't pass themselves off as employees but I wonder about our status as tax is deducted and many of the usual terms of a contract are in ours.

I'm shocked that demotion/dismissal can, whatever our true status, come out of the blue like that with no justification. Our handbook goes on about continuing support and feedback from bosses - it never happened - not once.

flowery Sat 29-Sep-12 21:01:30

You have been continuously employed since the start of your most recent contract, I am trying to establish how long that is in order to work out what rights you have if any. It does sound like you are employed but if you've only been continuously employed for a few months it wouldn't matter anyway.

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