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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47355
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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MY EMPLOYER IS WANTING TO REDUCE MY HOURS AND OTHER COLLEAGUES

Customer Question

MY EMPLOYER IS WANTING TO REDUCE MY HOURS AND OTHER COLLEAGUES HAVE INCREASED THEIR HOURS i WORK IN THE CLEANING INDUSTRY AND CERTAIN AREAS REQUIRE LONGER TIME THAN OTHERS THE AREA THEY HAVE PUT ME IN IS LESS HOURS AND i HAVE A DISABILITY THAT THEY KNOW OF AND THE AREA i HAVE BIG DIFFICULTY IN DOING .cAN THEY DO THIS WITHOUT ME ACCUSING THEM OF BEING DISCRIMINATING TOWARDS ME AND WILL i LOSE MY JOB IN THE PROCESS OF ABILITY WHEN THERE WERE OTHER AREAS TO DO BUT HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO OTHER COLLEAGUES
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.Can you please tell me how long have you have you been with your employer

Customer:

started on the 8th april 2008

Ben Jones :

OK thank you, XXXXX XXXXX it with me. I am in a tribunal today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you this afternoon. There is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience. By reducing your hours your employer is basically changing your terms and conditions. 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.

As to potential disability discrimination the employer must consider your condition and how it could affect the work you do. If you are going to have difficulties doing a specific job, then they must consider making reasonable adjustments to try and assist you. What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances of the employer, their business, the potential impact on other employees, the available resources, etc. Whilst legislation does not currently provide specific examples of what adjustments can be made, the following are examples that have been considered reasonable in case law over time:
• making adjustments to work premises;
• allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;
• transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;
• altering the employee’s hours of work;
• allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;
• acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;
• providing supervision or other support.

If they do not make reasonable adjustments when they are able to and should do, then their actions can amount to disability discrimination and you can raise the issue with them directly.

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