What to do if your employer is advertising your job

What should you do and what are your legal rights as an employee?

Seeing your own job advertised is a clear sign that your employer is looking to replace you, but what should you do and what are your legal rights as an employee?

It’s never a good sign when you’re looking to see what work is out there and you come across an advertisement for your own job.

After mulling over why your employer would want to replace you, you’ll immediately think of ways to avoid getting fired. “Can I claim unfair dismissal, does this constitute a contract dispute, are they legally allowed to fire me?”

In this post, we’re going to help you answer those questions by giving you some advice on what to do when you first notice your job is being advertised. We’ll also tell you what your legal rights are as an employee, so take a look…

What steps can I take if my job is being advertised by my employer?

Once you notice your job is being advertised, you first need to make sure that it’s actually your job the company is hiring for and not a similar position or an extra pair of hands.

If the job description is somewhat vague and could describe the position of a few people you work with, it might not be your job. If the description is specific and covers a role or title you have, such as Marketing Director for the North-West Region, then it’s probably yours.

Once you’re pretty sure it’s your job being advertised, follow these steps:

1. Make sure it’s definitely your job
Sometimes you can be almost certain it’s your job being advertised, but you should find out the facts before assuming the worst.

Confirming with management that the job position being advertised is yours is the only way to get peace of mind. Even if it turns out the job is yours, at least you can start to plan your future and won’t be stuck worrying about it.

Not only that, your employer might give you the option to stay if you work harder, or at the very least agree to give you severance pay. They might even allow you to transfer to another branch, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

2. Work hard to prove your worth
Even if your employer doesn’t offer you anything when you confront them, at least you know you’re going to replaced and have time to prove your worth. If you really care about this job, you can still fight for it.

Work harder than you ever have, keep a positive attitude, and make yourself indispensable. If you display all these traits, and your employer takes notice, they’ll likely think twice about firing you or might at least move you to an alternate role.

3. Start searching for jobs
The earlier you start looking for jobs, the better. Even if you’re doing your best to prove yourself and keep your current job, you need a backup in case it doesn’t work, so line up as many interviews as you can.

If you’ve been in your role for a while, it could be that there are even better jobs out there, or your years of experience could land you a job that pays you more money.

Make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date and apply away. You can find jobs on indeed.com, LinkedIn, and company’s personal sites. Even if the companies you want to work for haven’t advertised a position, it might be worth sending them a CV anyway, so they have it on file if one becomes available.

What are my legal rights when my job is advertised by my employer?

Now that you know what your first steps should be when you find out your job is being advertised, it’s time to go over your legal rights as an employee.

Raising a grievance

Grievances are formal complaints that you raise with your employer in writing, to make them aware of how strongly you feel about their actions. Once you know they’re advertising your job, you can raise a grievance and they have to respond without any unreasonable delay.

However, the reality of a grievance is that your employer can choose to reject your complaints and fire you anyway. So, whatever argument you put forward has to be convincing.

Unfair dismissal

You can bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you’ve worked for your employer for at least two years. Your dismissal can be classed as unfair if:

• Your employer doesn’t provide a good enough reason for letting you go;
• The reason they gave wasn’t the real one;
• Or they failed to give you enough warning before they dismissed you.

If you can prove unfair dismissal with your job being advertised, then you can take your employer to an employment tribunal.

Employment tribunal

Before you go to an employment tribunal, you first have to tell the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal.

Acas will offer you the chance to settle the dispute with your employer without going to court by using their ‘Early Conciliation’ service. If this doesn’t work, they will send you an early conciliation certificate and you can then make a claim to the tribunal.

You’ll have to provide evidence at the tribunal and answer questions both from the judge and the employer you’ve taken to court. A few days or weeks after the hearing you’ll get the decision in the post. If you win, the losing party might have to:

• Pay you compensation
• Give you your job back

If you lose you can make an appeal and take it to appeals court.

Where do you go from here?

In this post, we’ve covered what to do if you find out your employer is advertising your job and what your legal rights are as an employee.

Seeing your own job advertised by your employer is a bad situation to be in. That said, hopefully you now know how to respond to it, and what legal action you can take to get you through this difficult time.

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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