Can I be held back because I’m too good at my job?

I’ve been told I will not be promoted because I’m “too good” in my current role. Where do I stand legally with this? Can I be held back for a manager role when I’m the most experienced person in the organisation who has trained previous managers and will be expected to train the new manager?

Career Progression

 

Unfortunately, if the reason for wanting to keep you in your current role is genuinely that you are so good at it that they don’t want to promote you up, there wouldn’t necessarily be any legal issue with that.  You’ve essentially done such a good job that you’ve made yourself indispensable within that role!  However, if you don’t believe that is the real reason, it would depend upon what you thought the reason actually was and what evidence you have to support your views as to whether the position would be different in law.

Practically speaking, perhaps an informal conversation with your employer might help, to let them know that you want to progress to a management position and to explain how you feel about being held back.  If you love working for your employer, but progression is so important to you that you are considering going elsewhere, being honest about your thoughts might prompt proper discussions.  If that doesn’t work, you could consider raising a formal grievance, but the risk is that a serious step such as this might sour the relationship but still not resolve the problem.

If discussion doesn’t prove fruitful, you can at least say you gave them a chance to reconsider before you started looking elsewhere.  As things stand, the market is generally still very good for employees looking to move and that might ultimately be your next step.

*Marie Horner is an experienced senior employment law specialist at ALT Legal in Wetherby.



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