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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45306
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi there. I have been in employment with the same company

Resolved Question:

Hi there. I have been in employment with the same company for 7 years with the same job description (although with a minor amendment 2 years ago). I am now told that two colleagues who have left will not be replaced and that the two remaining people on contracts will continue but with a change of job description and title. New people will be employed on an ad hoc basis on a lesser rate of pay. It was clear there is no discussion around this as was evidenced by the HR person being at the meeting at which the new structure was presented.
I feel that the job has been significantly dumbed down and is not using my knowledge skills or qualifications which was a requirement when I started. I asked if voluntary redundancy was on offer and was told 'no' by the Chief Executive. I feel I need to resign as otherwise I am agreeing to this which I do not. I am required to give 3 months notice.
Is it worth exploring a case under employment law?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. have any of you working conditions or your role being changed and have you been asked to sign anything

Customer:

Hi. It is a professional contract and the job role that I do will no longer continue when my existing colleague and I leave (she is 63 and has said she is interested in retiring). The job role requires visiting Educational establishments and preparing a 20 page report. The ad hoc pool of people who will be employed on an 'as and when' basis will undertake the visits and produce a slim version of the report. We are now being asked to visit Centres and produce the new report. Our job titles have changed from 'Quality Reviewer' to 'EQA' (External Quality Assurer). The daily rate is less money than we are currently on, but at the moment they have said that our 'terms and conditions remain unchanged' although it is acknowledge the duties no longer include training which was a bit part of the previous job description and required a teaching qualification. Now they just want an Assessors qualification which is non academic and more vocational. The line manager will also change from the Director to a new post which has lesser requirements than the post I currently undertake.

Customer:

I have not signed anything and made clear that I was not happy with the new job description.

Ben Jones :

OK thank you, ***** ***** 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

Customer:

I am required to attend a appraisal today (found out yesterday) so if there is anything I need to be aware of before going in for this at 2.30pm that would be helpful. Thanks.

Ben Jones :

Hi sorry for the delay, the deliberations took longer than expected. I am happy to continue with my advice now if you still require it. Of course I appreciate it may be too late for the appraisal but if you still need any clarification I will be happy to help. Please let me know, thanks


Customer:

I would still like a response to the original questions please regarding whether there is any way to go on this one in relation to the job being redundant or could it count towards constructive dismissal. Thanks.

Ben Jones :

What you could pursue this under is a change to your contractual 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 redundancy you cannot force the employer to make you redundant even if there was a redundancy situation in place which they were refusing to go don under. In that case you would still be expected to purse it as a constructive dismissal case. Finally if you were resigning claiming constructive dismissal, you would not be expected to work your notice period and would be leaving with immediate effect.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Thanks that does clarify the position. Unsatisfactory situation but probably they have covered their backs sufficiently to be within the law.

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45306
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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