Not given an interview for an internal vacancy at my company

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Hi, I'm after some advice if possible please.

I applied for a different position in my company, and was not even considered for an interview, even though I had enough experience, qualifications and skills for this particular job, and fitted the criteria in the job synopsis perfectly. I had been interviewed and shortlisted for this position in the past and told to apply for the next position that came up, this was before my diagnosis.

When the new position came up, I was actively told by some members of the team that I would be working with, to apply (including the assistant regional manager) although I was in two minds on whether to apply or not I decided to. Unfortunately, 2 days after I applied, I was admitted to hospital for 9 days for a different medical problem not related to the cancer, which is now stable and has a good prognosis for the rest of my life, (as long as I keep taking the medication) so I couldn't follow up the application in any way. I came back to work after 2 weeks and hadn't heard anything, so I just shrugged it off and waited. I received a generic email from the recruitment department this week saying that I was unsuccessful in my application and even though my cv was good, the position has now been filled etc etc.

When I came back off sick leave, I found out that my line manager had said certain things about me to other people in my team, for which I have witnesses to prove what was said, He said, "That I was toast, and that I should give up work because I would be likely to drop dead soon anyway". He also said to her that he was going to see the manager who was recruiting for the other job. I have since found out that he had not informed HR about my diagnosis, even though it is company procedure to do so, so they can formulate a care plan for me (the company that I work for has very robust procedures in place for circumstances like this) He said to me after I told him about the initial diagnosis that I should keep my head down and not give the company any excuses to get rid of me, unfortunately this was a private conversation and I have no witnesses or proof of what was said.

I have been informed that he has done this recently to another staff member who applied for a promotion within the department, she is undergoing IVF treatment, he went to her interviewing manager and tried to influence them not to give her an interview, but luckily for her, he was ignored and was given the promotion anyway. She is considering making a formal complaint against him.

I have emailed the recruiting manager for feedback on why I wasn't even considered for an interview but I haven't had a reply, however she has spoken to my relief line manager (my line manager is off sick at the moment and is in hospital, perhaps now he may have some empathy) and she said that my email was sarcastic and rude (it may have been a little bit, looking back at it) and that she knows that I am under a lot of strain and pressure, so she won't take it any further. (How does she know that I'm under a lot of strain and pressure? I haven't told her about my diagnosis) She said to my relief manager that she doesn't have time to give me a detailed email response. So I think she is just trying to stall me and just hope that this will go away.

I feel that I have been discriminated against, because of the cancer, even though the prognosis is good, but I can only suspect them of this as I can't prove it, even though there's a lot of circumstantial evidence there. Because of these actions I have been denied a £10,000 a year pay rise, bonuses etc., which would help the financial strain and the worry that this horrible disease has given me and my family.

I'm sorry that this has been long winded and protracted but I needed to get it off my chest.

Is there anyone who could give me any advice please?

Thank you


  • Hello

    Thank you for your question. I am so sorry to hear about your worries about work. My name is Polly and I am a work support advisor on the Macmillan support line.

    Where you can identify a difference in the way you've been treated between the time before and after your cancer diagnosis then it is possible that you may have been discriminated against on the grounds of your disability.

    It is important to remember that cancer is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you live in Northern Ireland). Please see Your Rights at Work when you are affected by Cancer

    Direct disability discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of their disability when compared to somebody in the same position who doesn't have a disability.

    The denial of promotion or training opportunities has been found to be discriminatory if the decision to turn you down is related to a person’s protected characteristic. Obviously, an employer is not going to admit to this, so it is a fact gathering exercise that is needed to prove it. The first step is to obtain copies of the relevant policies. Has the recruitment manager and your manager followed company policies? You mention that nothing has been done to support you following your return to work- Can anything be done now?

    The next step is to get back to the recruitment manager and ask them for more information about why you were refused an interview, when you met all the requirements under the person specification. I also suggest that you have a conversation with HR and copy them into your communications.

    It is important to keep communications calm and polite. For example, you can acknowledge that this manager is overworked now and apologise if you gave an impression of being sarcastic because this was not meant.

    You believe that you have been treated differently following your cancer diagnosis. The unfavourable treatment relates to the decision not to short list you for another job. There are hints here that your manager does discriminate – because of the things that have been said and the potential interference in the recruitment process. If HR conduct their recruitment process in accordance with the Equality Act guidelines, then this could be a breach of the company’s own policies. It is important to remember here that two managers appear to be involved in the decision to exclude you from this development opportunity.

    On the Citizens Advice website there is guidance about what you can do. Please remember you need to think about what you want out of this and prepare the facts and a timeline of events.

    Step 1

    Raise your concerns informally – by communicating with the managers /HR either verbally or in writing.

    Step 2

    Use mediation or ask your employer to invite ACAS to conciliate . I suggest you check with HR about this.

    Step 3

    Raise a Formal Grievance . Please see the resources on  Dealing with a Grievance

    All these steps need to be taken within the three months (less a day ) time frame. So if you are communicating to the managers involved ask them to get back to you within 14 days (for example)

    I can appreciate this must be a very stressful time for you particularly as you have suffered ill health. If you need to talk it through please speak to the work support team on 0808 808 0000 (option one followed by option 2 and then option 3) . We are open Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.


    Work Support Advisor
    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email