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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46169
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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There I have been employed by my present company for

Customer Question

Hi there
I have been employed by my present company for 7 years. My current job title is Senior Retail Project Manager I have held this title for 26 months, previous to this my job title was Store Manager.
My present title and job didn't exist until I took up the position 26 months ago, I have a contract of employment but it doesn't state any roles, responsibilities or duties associated with this role. As the role was new when I took it up and didn't exist before, I have made the job what it is, and have become accustomed to the duties that have been expected and what I do on a day to day basis. The company have accepted what I have been doing for the past two years and have always been supportive and encouraging of everything I do.
Currently my role involves mainly manually labouring fixtures and fittings and organising shop openings. This is a highly manual role with aspects of management in terms of people and stock management.
There are a total of 3 people in my team (department) 1 x started same time as me, 1 x started 14 months ago, and 1 x 9 months ago. We make up the team that setup new stores. Myself and the other person (for name sake let's call him A) started at the same time as me and is on a salary that's around £100,000 a year, I'm on a salary that's £28,000. He was taken on by the owner of the company, the owner has now left 12 months ago and there is a new owner of the business. Myself and A have a good working relationship and get on well, I've always understood that his wage was based on being friends with the owner and it had never bothered me previously.
The two other people in my team (for name sake B and C) were taken on after in consultation with myself and (A). They are on salaries of £21,000. There titles are project managers and not senior project managers as mine and (A) is.
The company have introduced someone above me as Head of Store Development and we are all considered below him which I accept fully.
The new head of store development has emailed the whole team with 2 different job titles and duties and responsibilities that he wants us to take up, one being Store Development Manager and one being merchandiser. Neither of these match what I'm doing at the moment.
The store development manager role, I've already been told I'm only 75% of the way to meeting that role and that I could have the merchandiser role as I'm 100% of the way there.
The bot***** *****ne is I don't want either role as the Store Development Manager role is mainly reporting and meeting based and the merchandiser role would mean I lose any management responsibilities. Both roles require 'adjustments in salary and package' but they have not said what this is for either role.
Also due to the fact the other senior project manager (A) has a salary that is not in line, they are making him an offer to leave the business (I'm not sure of the amount and is not public knowledge but I have been told by (A) and he is getting ready to leave the business.
This has now been strung out for 8 weeks with everyday not knowing what is happening, and now to make the situation worse the project manager in my team (B) is taking on more and more duties and extra learning and activities and heading resource and company development and I'm being left out and sidelined.
I feel like I'm being pushed out and (B) has told me that he (B) wants me gone. I have an email from my new Head of Store Development that says (B) attitude and conduct was not acceptable but I know deep down that he wants me gone to enable cheaper and other people that he likes.
(B) has also told my new head of store development that I'm gay, and even though this is true no body in the business knew and I feel this is now being used against me as my new head of store development has repeatedly said he knows I have a long term 'partner' and understands if the job isn't for me.
There was also another job in a different department of the company that I was told to apply for by both the Director of operations for my department and also my head of store development, they pushed for me to apply so I sent an email to the relevant person asking for more details and to put my name forward. However I never got an interview as I lived in the South and the job was based in the north, but I didn't know this and I wasn't told. My new head of store development now says I'm not committed and has used this phrase many times over the past week or two as I went for the other job, I wouldn't have gone for it if I knew it wasnt in my area. I never been actually formally told I didn't get it, but someone has already being taken on from outside the company. I feel like this was a test to see my commitment even though the job was never going to be offered to me in the first place, it was a test and I feel betrayed that I fell for it.
I'm not sure what to do, it complicated and I dread going back to such difficulties and pressure.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello what are you actually hoping to achieve?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Either redundancy or to keep what I have already.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Ok leave it with me please I will consider it and reply on here today
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks, ***** *****
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your patience. It would appear that the employer is undertaking a restructure of the current roles which means that your position will cease to exist and new positions will be created instead. This could very much amount to a redundancy situation. The term 'redundancy' is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisation, workplace relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason satisfied the statutory definition of a redundancy, which can be found in The Employment Rights Act 1996: 1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind (this is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to actually disappear for them to be made redundant). The third reason above creates the most challenges and it is also the one likely to apply here. Examples of when there is a reduced requirement to do work of a particular kind are:· The same amount of work remains but fewer employees are needed to do it. This includes consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out certain jobs amongst existing employees).· There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (both the work and the headcount shrink)· There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall. So as long as the employer can show that their situation fell within one of the accepted reasons for declaring a redundancy, the test will be satisfied and the focus then shifts on the remainder of the redundancy procedure. This would include what consultation took place, whether any suitable alternative employment was offered to those at risk and the general fairness of the redundancy procedure applied by the employer. So you have the right to raise this matter with the employer and tell them that this is really a redundancy situation and that you would expect either to be offered a suitable alternative position or to be made redundant. If they do not do either of these, then you may consider resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on suitability of alternative positions and how to determine if something offered to you is suitable, 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
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46169
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your help, is it best to put all this is a grievance, although in my experience this is normally that road to the end as they just want to get rid of you once you have complained. I don't really want to resign as I won't get anything. They have told me they don't need to provide written roles, duties and responsibilities - not sure if this is true or not? Thanks for your help
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
If there is a potential redundancy situation, an employer has a duty to offer those employees at risk any suitable alternative employment (“SAE”) that may exist at the time. The objective is to keep the employee in a job rather than make them redundant. Therefore, if an employee accepts an offer of SAE, their employment will continue in the new position and they would lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment. They do not need to make the offer in writing as such but they must make some kind of offer. If the offer is considered unsuitable and the employee refuses it, they will be made redundant and still receive redundancy pay. However, if the offer was suitable and the employee unreasonably refuses it, they would effectively be resigning and will lose their entitlement to redundancy pay. So the main issue is what makes an offer suitable and when can an employee reasonably refuse it. The most common factors that would make an offer unsuitable are:· Job content/status – drop in status, substantial changes in duties, etc.· Pay and other benefits – significant drop in earnings/benefits (e.g. basic pay, bonuses, overtime, sick pay, holidays)· Working hours – change in shift pattern, removal of overtime, extension/reduction of working hours· Change of workplace – new location making it unreasonable to travel to the new place of work· Job prospects – going from permanent to temporary work, becoming self-employed or being employed on a fixed-term contract. Where an offer of alternative employment has been made and its terms and conditions are different to the employee's current terms, they have the right to a 4-week trial period. If during the trial period they decide that the job is not suitable they should tell their employer straight away. This will not affect their employment rights, including the right to receive statutory redundancy pay. So it is important to consider whether any offer that has been made is suitable or if there are reasonable grounds to treat it as unsuitable and safely reject it, opting for redundancy instead. If they do not want to entertain the idea of redundancy then as mentioned you may have to resign and make the claim instead. 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. In the first instance, if no headway is being made, a grievance would be the usual first step.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks again, they don't have to provide written job descriptions then?And the prospects of me being treated unfairly I think in terms of others getting the chance to progress more than me and me being sidelined, I could raise this in the grievance even if they refuse to do anything.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
An offer of alternative employment does not have to be in writing. Yes you can raise these matters in the grievance if necessary

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