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i have a contract which has minimum restrictive covenants. two weeks prior to bonus payment they have written to say "you are required to sign X" where X is essentially a long list of broadly written restrictive covenants eg 12 month post-termination non-compete/non-solicit, no retention of any contacts, etc. So categories which could have been in the original, but written very broadly. In order to avoid paying the bonus, they would need to commence disciplinary proceedings against me, but they have no reasonable grounds away from not signing this letter.
Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:
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.
If the employer was considering taking disciplinary action then it is highly unlikely that any such action would be fair in the circumstances and it can be challenged if needed.
Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you
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? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks