I have been hearing disturbing stories about the requirements being foisted on job-seekers by representatives of the government, and I’m hoping some Vox readers will be able to cast light on them.
I have a friend who is in the job market. I believe he has limits on his ability to work, although I don’t know what they are. He tells me that an advisor at a recent interview said he should move out of his one-bedroom flat and into different accommodation, in order to better facilitate his job search. My understanding is that the advisor claimed he should do this in order to be able to work from home.
The question is: Are these jobsearch advisors legally able to require him to move home?
My friend thinks not. He reckons that – by advising him to move – the advisor has broken EU regulations on human rights. In essence, this is interfering with his private life, and the advisor’s role is legally restricted to his professional life.
He asked me for my opinion and I have no idea. To my way of thinking it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask a person to change their situation in order to find gainful employment – it’s the modern equivalent of Norman Tebbit’s “Get on your bicycle” line; you go where the work is. I myself, with the then-Employment Service’s blessing – spent five months on a course in Cornwall getting my journalism qualification, in order to get a job at the end of it.
But it does seem unreasonable to ask somebody to undertake one of the most stressful life-changes human beings undergo – moving all their belongings from one place to another – on the off-chance that a job might come to you in your new abode that would not have arisen if you had stayed put. We’re not talking about moving to a different town where jobs are commonplace; just relocating within the same (small) town in Wales.
Does anybody have an insight on this?
The other issue is more of a warning than a query. The same friend was bullied into enrolling on the new Universal Jobmatch system. While browsing the available jobs, he found one for a company that claimed to employ people as ‘mystery customers’ to check on the service provided by other firms. Deeper investigation of the advert revealed that this company wanted a wealth of information from possible candidates before considering them for employment. This put my friend on guard and he got out without submitting any information.
A later search on the Internet revealed that the company had been involved in a series of illegal scams, including identity theft - that’s right, stealing people’s personal information and using it to fraudulently gain cash.
And this firm was advertising on the government’s brand-new jobsearch site, that won’t let people get away from a job advert without explaining why they’re not applying!
Has anybody else experienced this?
It seems this could be yet another indictment of the system brought in by the Coalition government, that tries to shoehorn people into jobs – apparently without even checking that those on its own site aren’t breaking the law.