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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48201
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been "asked" to work in another department for an unspecified

Resolved Question:

I have been "asked" to work in another department for an unspecified time and did so for two days last week. I found it so stressful that I ended up in tears on Friday afternoon and was worrying about it all weekend. I had a meeting with my own team leader and the other departments team leader on Monday morning and was advised I could go back to my own department. I have been advised this afternoon by these two team leaders that this has gone up to a "higher" manager and I have no choice but to go back to the other department on Friday. I am now feeling sick with worry as I found it all so stressful, can I be made to work there?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

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

Customer: Hi, I've worked there 4 and a half years
Ben Jones :

Does your contract say anything about the possibility of being moved to a different department?

Customer: It says" you may be required to carry out tasks in addition to your normal duties, but such tasks will be both reasonable and considered to be within your capabilities"
Customer: i understand that but surely if you have given it a go and found it very difficult and stressful you should not be made to carry on doing it when it's not your job.
Ben Jones :

And do they want you to move to this department permanently?

Customer: I hope not, they haven't said, the department is a mess and has been for some time. I cannot see it being sorted out any time soon.
Customer: they have tried employing people both permanently and through a temp agency but people keep leaving or going sick with stress!
Ben Jones :

According to your contract your employer could ask you to take on such additional duties as necessary or ask you to do something different as required. However, this does not just allow them to permanently change your position and this is really intended as a temporary thing, where you are asked to cover in another department or assist on a short-term basis. So the initial move in itself is not unlawful as that is allowed under contract.

The issue really is how this job is affecting you. Whilst stress in the workplace is becoming an ever-increasing problem, no specific legislation deals with it. The rights of employees in these circumstances are scattered across various legislation and common law examples.


 


A good starting point is to look at The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related statutory instruments, which impose a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This includes a duty to undertake risk assessments and manage activities to reduce the incidence of stress at work. In addition, under common law an employer owes a duty of care towards its employees, the breach of which can amount to negligence.


 


You certainly need to raise these concerns with the employer and make it clear how this is affecting you. Remind them of their duties to deal with stress and if they ignore your please then you can consider going down the grievance route to make a formal complaint with them. The steps after that can be somewhat drastic as it would require you to resign, so unless the situation becomes impossible and you believe you can no longer work there as a result, try to fight it internally as described above

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