Employment Law: Graham’s Case

Graham, the Head of the International Office, advertised internally for a senior advisor. As the job would be highly pressurised he put in the advert that the successful candidate would have to be ‘young and dynamic’. He also specified that the person had to be willing to travel extensively, often at short notice. Onyeka, who is currently a junior adviser and has extensive links with West Africa, considered putting in for the job but was advised by Graham not to bother once she told him that she was 35, had two young children and a third on the way. Instead the job went to Vicki, who is Graham’s wife. Onyeka has contacted the Vice Chancellor and told him she is considering telling the local newspaper about the matter. 
Anxious to recruit Chinese students, the Head of the Law School persuaded the university to advertise for a ‘Liaison Assistant – China’. The advert specified that the person needed to be of Chinese ethnic origin. Tom, who is currently employed as a catering assistant in the university, is not of Chinese origin but he is fluent in Mandarin and has a degree in Philosophy. He is cross that his application has been rejected and has asked the Vice Chancellor for an explanation of why he was not shortlisted for interview. 
Rosemary is a Lecturer in Politics. She was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At present there are no visible symptoms and the disease is not having any impact on her ability to carry out her job duties. Rosemary applied for the post of Deputy Head of Department but was told by the Head of Politics that they would not be considering her application as the University wanted to make a long term appointment. 

Ranjit, a Professor of History, received what he perceived to be an offensive email from Nigel, a work colleague. The message contained a joke about Sikhs, of which Ranjit is one. Ranjit told his line manager that he did not find this funny but he was told that he should just laugh it off. Other colleagues told Ranjit that he needed to loosen up and learn to take a joke. Ranjit raised the matter with the University’s Human Resources Department, pointing out that there have been several previous occasions when Fred has sent him racially derogatory material. He was told that he was being overly sensitive and should forget about it but that the University would remind everyone that they should be aware of cultural sensitivities when sending message to colleagues. Shortly afterwards, Ranjit was interviewed but not appointed to a post in Elgin University. He wants to know what the Vice Chancellor said about him in his reference, but the Vice Chancellor will not let him see it. 

On leaving work Ranjit sees Fred in the car park. He beats Fred up very severely. Fred needs prolonged hospital treatment for a broken nose and fractured cheekbone. The Head of the History Department sees all this from his window. 

While walking to his car, Ranjit is phoned by Elgin University. They say they want to appoint him after all, subject to receipt of a satisfactory reference from the Head of the History Department. 
Advise all parties on all issues arising from this sorry state of affairs. Would any aspect of your advice differ if they had worked for an English university rather than a Scottish one? 

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