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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44899
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have recently been told by my employer that I have been demoted

Customer Question

I have recently been told by my employer that I have been demoted from a manager to just another member of the team due to a restructure of the team. There have been no consultations given, no proper discussions other than this one meeting where I was told, no HR involvement. Can my employer do this? What are my rights? Surely if my position is no longer required I should have been offered a redundancy
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

JACUSTOMER-6r87corx- :

Will be there 1st ears this april

JACUSTOMER-6r87corx- :

13 years this april

Ben Jones :

so no one is doing your old job?

JACUSTOMER-6r87corx- :

They have created a new job for a global manager, hence why they have got rid of the regional manager

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

JACUSTOMER-6r87corx- :

Changes were being made before they had communicated to me, only when I questioned these changes was I reluctantly told that my position was no longer required....ie my email signature

Ben Jones :

There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:

  • Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes.
  • Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').
  • Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.

If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:

1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that you are working ‘under protest’. This means that you do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.

2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.

3. If the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

JACUSTOMER-6r87corx- :

So the employer can make changes with employees position without any consultation, any form of communication?

Ben Jones :

there is nothing preventing the employer from forcing through the changes without any communication or consultation - as you can imagine the employer can do as they wish. It does not mean it is legal or fair though and you are able to challenge these changes if they are introduced that way, for example through any of the steps I outlined above. But the point is they can make the changes, it just means that it is then up to you to challenge them and take the matter further. Has this clarified things for you?

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