Contractors' Questions: Should my CV be used to advertise an IT job?

Contractor’s Question: I was head-hunted last week and the agent got me an interview over the phone with the hiring company. Unfortunately it didn't go well – a job description wasn’t available, the interviewer was on a train and the phone cut out but he never rang back.

The following day, the agency phoned to set up another interview time with the company and I said that, because my first impression wasn't great, I didn't want to proceed. Next day, I got a job notification through a well-known online jobs agency and it appears they have used my CV to advertise the contract! Is this common, lawful practice, or should I challenge this? I am a bit surprised and upset by it, so can you please advise if I have any recourse?

Expert’s Answer: This is a very unfortunate situation.

The use of your Curriculum Vitae without your permission may constitute a breach of trust, as you sent the agency your CV and personal details in confidence. Such protection is afforded to you both in an express sense i.e. you mark the CV as confidential, or implied, in that the CV has the air of confidence about it. Damages are potentially available for a breach of your confidence.

In addition it might be an infringement of your copyright in the CV. Copyright does not require registration, and you have copyright protection if the work is your own, original work and you have put in some skill and effort when creating it. If someone uses your copyright protected work this may constitute an infringement.

Finally it may also potentially be a breach of data protection and/or your contract with the agency. If your personal details, such as you email or address or photograph, are used it might also be a breach of your personal data. It might therefore be worthwhile reviewing the agencies’ terms and conditions and seeing if there is anything in the small print that helps you.

For now, I would recommend that you write a letter complaining and requesting an explanation, in writing, before you decide to commit to taking the issue any further.

The expert was Michael Coyle, director of Lawdit Solicitors, a legal advisory specialising in intellectual property and internet/IT law.

Wednesday 14th May 2014
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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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