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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47371
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been employed, as a support worker, years.in

Resolved Question:

I have been employed, as a support worker, for fifteen years.in a small college. The management are changing our contracts. In the new contract they are making a Driving Licence and an expectation to drive a mini bus to transport the students.
I have a condition that would prevent me from driving.
Could this cause me a problem in keepin my job?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is the condition you mention?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For Ben Jones
My managers are intending to change my employment contract. They want to introduce a essential criteria that staff would be expected to drive the college mini bus. I am not able to drive because of a medical condition can they say I am no longer suitable for the job I am doing as a support worker?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
First of all, there are a few ways in which an employer 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.
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.
Secondly, even if they introduce the changes, they cannot just say you are unsuitable for the new job and terminate your employment. They may be able to make the changes if this is now an essential requirement of the job but once that happens they must see if there is an alternative position for you first. Only if nothing exists and it is impossible to make any concessions or changes to the role can they eventually consider the dismissal route, although it could still be challenged by you as an unfair dismissal if necessary.
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
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