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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Wife was offered and accepted job as qualified grade 6

Resolved Question:

Wife was offered and accepted job as qualified

grade 6 teacher. Received letter confirming

offer, included salary and start date. Approx. 2

weeks after starting job was told by

headteacher that would not be paid as grade 6

qualified but as an unqualified ... grade 4!.

Drop in salary approx £10k pa. Moved to

Manchester from Isle of Man on strength of

offer letter, I have not yet found work here,

struggling to pay bills. No offer of

compensation or even an enquiry about how

we are managing from the school. Trying to

obtain meeting with head to try to resolve.

Need some advice on how to proceed.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are you still employed by them?

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

It is my wife who was employed and yes she is still working there.

Ben Jones :

Sorry yes meant to say your wife. When did she start working there?

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

March 6th 2014

Ben Jones :

Has she been told why this sudden change?

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

When she completed the application form there was a question "do you have QTS?" She answeted Yes - Russian, as she qualified at a Russian Teaching University. When she attended the interview noone asked her about this and she was offered the position verbally at the end of the interview. She then received the letter a couple of days later. A couple of weeks after starting work she was told by the head teacher that, as she didn't have british QTS she could only be paid as an unqualified teacher. Even though it was the schools mistake, we could have accepted it and she would then obtain QTS via the "assessment only route". However, she was not put on the equivalent level as an unqualified, i.e. a grade 6, but was further reduced to a grade 4 unqualified. She is an experienced teacher with over 30 years of teaching at various levels. In the Isle of Man she was a supply teacher and was paid at grade 6 qualified level. The I.O.M. do not have QTS requirements and it is not possible to sit for it over there.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

This is indeed a possible breach of contract, although it may not necessarily result in her being able to continue in her job and be paid the salary she was promised.


 


She can claim for the time she has not been paid what she was offered but she will npt be able to force the employer to keep her in the job for any longer than is required. She is not protected against unfair dismissal until she has at least 2 years’ service with the employer so until that time she can be dismissed at any time and for more or less any reason. All the employer has to do is give her the notice period she is entitled to under contract.


 


So let’s say she is due a month’s notice under contract. She can raise the argument that the employer’s actions amount to a breach of contract and potentially pursue them for the difference in pay from the time the changes were introduced. However, in the meantime the employer can legally terminate her employment by giving her the required notice period and bring her employment to an end. She could then only pursue them for the difference in pay from the time it was introduced until the end of her employment. She is not going to be able to legally force the employer to honour her original pay AND to keep her in the job. It is of course possible they may agree to it but if they know their legal position and what they can do, they could simply cut their losses now and dismiss her, simply having to honour the original pay for the period she was actually employed by them.


 


None of this stop her from pursuing her rights as they stand now and trying to get her pay back to what was agreed.. She can do this internally through the grievance procedure but if that does not work all she can do is take the employer to tribunal or court to seek the difference in pay for the actual period it was implemented.

Ben Jones :

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? Thanks

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

We moved back to the UK on the strength of the interview and offer that was received. This cost several thousand pounds plus, I had to give up my work and lost several pieces of work which were "in the pipeline".The school have made no effort to ascertain if we are managing after the "reduction" and seem to hav eno interest in my wifes well being or state of mind. She is under intense pressure at work (43 children)

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

and has no chance for any kind of break in the morning, her lunch consists of a rushed sandwich within a 20 minute slot. She works till around 5.00 each day and has work to complete each evening for the next day. Surely there must be some "fair" view taken by thge legalk system in this country. I remember there used to be at one time!

Ben Jones :

Unfortunately, the move and you giving up your job are irrelevant as far as her legal position stands - she is simply not protected against unfair dismissal and all that she is bound by is her contractual notice period, which if the employer serves her with they can legally terminate her job with no further repercussions (apart from potentially having to pay the difference between the original offer and what she ended up being paid, but only for the duration of her employment with them). What is morally correct/acceptable often does not quite match with the legal position and that is evident in many aspects of law, especially when people are personally affected by something

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

So, basically from a legal standpoint we can go whistle. The school have a well qualified teacher on their books and can pay her less than she deserves. Her/our only option is accept it or go bankrupt, great choice. What a country. OK thanks for your advice.

Ben Jones :

The above is the worst case scenario where they could do what I described, but it does not mean they will. It just means that if she puts her foot down and demands the difference in pay, they could simply remove her from her position as described. But as mentioned, that is the worst case scenario, she could potentially agree some pay increase, even if not to the original level, or she may decide to stay in the position with the new salary, rather than be out of a job...

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

I have been trying, without success to arrange a meeting with the head teacher for the past 6 weeks. However, if that meeting does eventually take place it seems I have no legal recourse. I have to rely on this head teachers conscience, and based on what I have heard about the way she acts at school it is unlikely she would move an inch. Well, it seems that's all I can do. Other than that I guess I could try to interest a newspaper in the story or maybe a local MP. Obviously that would be a last resort, but it would be a definite if the meeting is a complete bust and my wife gets dismissed.

Ben Jones :

There is nothing stopping you from approaching these other routes but they would be working on the employer trying to avoid bad publicity and protect their reputation rather than relying on a legal route, but they could work, they have done in the past, it just depends on the employer and how they want to resolve this and how much their reputation means to them

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

OK, well as I say I would look at that as a last resort. One final point. Is there no question regarding due diligence here? Surely the school were negligent in either not scanning the original application or at least bringing the matter up at the interview?

Ben Jones :

yes but that won't overrule her rights in this situation, especially those in relation to potential termination and also the losses she can pursue, which would remain as above

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

Thank you for all your advice, I can't think of anything else that could be of use. I will let you know if there is any sort of outcome. Regards, Mike

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome, all the best with it and yes please keep me updated

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

Ben, you need to sign off so I can send a rating.

Ben Jones :

It's a known bug unfortunately, you just need to type your choice instead we will then process manually, thank you

JACUSTOMER-yu90cj01- :

Understood. My rating is EXCELLENT thank you.

Ben Jones :

Many thanks, noted

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45391
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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