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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47418
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Jones I work in a large hotel in central London and the job was offered with free

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I work in a large hotel in central London and the job was offered with free accommodation. There are 15/16 live-in staff in the building but most pay a weekly rent. I have been working for the company for 17 years under these terms. Now we have been told to leave our accommodation and I found a place to live. Obviously this will bring a lot extra monthly expenses, so I think that my salary is being effectively slashed.
When I did mention to my boss that I have a contract and with free accommodation agreed, she said she will change those terms in the months. The rooms we live-in will be used "to enhance facilities for our guests and create extra storage for the operational departments".
Frankly, I think they are forcing me to resign and consider their attitude as a possible breach of contract. What do you think?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Does your contract specifically state that you get free accommodation included?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was a verbal agreement between me and the company, 17 years ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have read in Gov.co.uk website that verbally agreed is a contract. Also says that a term
could be implied after such a long time occurring.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Yes that is correct. This is called implying contractual terms through custom and practice. This makes them contractually binding even if they are not written down anywhere. This area of law is rather complex and it is usually only down to the courts to establish with certainty if something had become an implied term. Nevertheless, it does not prevent employees from directly raising this argument with their employers. The basic requirement for implying terms is the presumed intention of the parties, in other words - did the employer and employee intend for the terms in question to be treated as contractual. In general, a practice would need to have been clearly communicated and consistently applied for a substantial period of time before it can be considered an implied contractual term. Therefore, something that is uncertain, not communicated properly, not been applied consistently or has just been around for a few months is unlikely to qualify. In your case this was a clear and consistently applied term for a very long period of time so it is most likely it would have been implied successfully and be contractually binding. So now that the employer is trying to change that, there are a few ways in which they 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. In the event that the terms are forcefully changed, you have certain options open to you to challenge that. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have to challenge these changes, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. 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.

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