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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48190
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My employer is changing my job key activities substantially

Resolved Question:

Hi
My employer is changing my job key activities substantially from what I have been previously doing & which are defined within my job role & responsibilities. The tasks that I am being asked to undertake are that of a lower job role which is over capacity, so I am being asked to step in to fulfil this need for at least the next 6 months.
Would this change in activities & effectively demotion constitute grounds for unfair dismissal?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben, I've worked for my current employer for 2.5 years within the same role
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Does your contract state that your employer could introduce such changes?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is a section that reads" in order to help in the efficiency and smooth running of the company, you must recognise and fully accept that the company may require you to help in any section, carrying out other work and other duties as teh workload so requires"
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
The starting point is that your contract states your employer could ask you to help out in other areas and whilst that would enable them to do so, it must be applied fairly and reasonably. For example, you could be asked to work in other areas temporarily or to cover sick leave, holidays, etc. Once the move becomes more long-term or permanent that is when this clause is unlikely to cover it. It is really only there to be used when it is really necessary, not just to give the employer the unrestricted right to move you as and when they see fit without any justification. I would say the fact that you are being asked to work there for at least 6 months makes this more of a permanent move (or at least long-term) and should not really be covered by this clause. In that case, this could potentially amount to constructive dismissal (not unfair dismissal), which occurs when the following two elements are present:{C}· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and{C}· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long. A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario). The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away. If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal. Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal. An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you. Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So in summary, if I undertake these new activities without raising a grievence, I am effectively accepting of the breach which would count against me?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
yes correct, although it does not have to be a grievance but you could initially state that you are working under protest and try to resolve it via other means, like direct discussions with the employer
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So finally Ben, lets say I raised my concerns, undertook the role for a number of months, i could still then resign & claim for constructive dismissal?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also what could you be compensated for?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
You should not leave resignation for too long, it must be done in response to the breach - so let's say you work under protest and in the meantime pursue a grievance - as long as it is clear the grievance has not worked and the employer will not change things then you need to consider resigning. You would only be compensated for loss of earnings, so if you find a new job straight away that pays the same you will not really get much
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