Job seeker wins battle to see CVs of fellow applicants

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A 62-year-old job seeker who is accusing a New Zealand energy firm of age discrimination has won a legal battle to view the CVs of the people who beat him to the job.

Kevin Waters worked at Alpine Energy Limited from 1975 to 2008 before he resigned.

But early in 2012, aged 62, he had a change of heart and applied for two jobs advertised by his old South Canterbury-based company who were looking for an engineering officer and maintenance engineer.

He was interviewed for the maintenance job, where he was told he would not be interviewed for the other position because, "initial screening indicated that applications had been made by candidates better suited".

Both applications were unsuccessful.

Now, Mr Waters, of Timaru, has alleged that, in terms of section 22 of the Human rights Act 1993, he was discriminated against by reason of his age.

Alpine Energy denies the allegations that age or employment status was relevant to its considerations for the engineering officer job.

In relation for the maintenance engineer role, it said a recruitment agency, Farrow Jamieson was responsible for choosing the right person. It denies giving the agency directions regarding Mr Waters, or that age or employment status were considerations.

When the Human Rights Review Tribunal started looking in to Mr Waters' claims, they made a discovery order which asked Alpine Energy to release a summary of job applications, a summary of Farrow Jamieson's referee checking, as well as emails and telephone conversation notes between the energy firm and Young Hunter lawyers.

Alpine Energy told the tribunal that a list of applicants and CVs for both roles were "no longer in its possession or control which may be relevant to this proceeding".

The company said the documents were either destroyed by them three months after the appointment of the successful candidate or were never provided to them by the law firm.

Mr Waters argued that he needed to see all of the documents to help him establish that younger people, with lesser skills, qualifications, and experience were considered ahead of him.

Alpine Energy opposed handing over further documents, saying many of them contained personal details of job seekers and other "highly confidential" details.

Mr Waters submitted he did not need personal details and agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement.

But he did seek an order that for both successful applicants he be provided with their CV, experience and previous employment history and related details so that a comparison can be made with his own CV and employment history.

The tribunal ruled that all relevant documents should be available to Mr Waters, including the successful applicants' CVs, application, employment history, listed qualifications, and experience.

Once all of the statements, documents, and evidence have been filed, a four-day hearing will be heard in Timaru.

- APNZ

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