Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long you have worked there.
I have been employed with the company for 16 years and been deputy manager for 5 years
There is a principle in employment law where terms may become implied into an employment contract by ‘custom and practice’. This makes them contractually binding even if they are not written down anywhere. This area of law is rather complex and it is usually only down to the tribunals and courts to establish with certainty if something has become an implied term. Nevertheless, it does not prevent employees from directly raising this argument with their employers.
So it is possible that if you have been placed to cover a position that after some time this position would become your permanent job as it would become implied into your contract through custom and practice.
The basic requirement for implying terms is the presumed intention of the parties, in other words - did the employer and employee intend for the term(s) in question to be treated as contractual. In general, a practice would need to have been clearly communicated and consistently applied for a substantial period of time before it can be considered an implied contractual term. Therefore, something that is uncertain, has not been applied consistently or has just been around for a few months is unlikely to qualify.
You may tell the employer that you believe the term or practice you are relying on has been implied into the contract through 'custom and practice' and see what they say. They could of course deny that and refuse to discuss the matter and if that is the case then you can only realistically challenge this by taking your case to an employment tribunal or the county court.
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