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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have a permanent employment contract stating I am a Business

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I have a permanent employment contract stating I am a Business Project Manager, with a job description for this role. I have been in role for about 21 months now.
Recently there was a re-organisation and the project i was running was moved to another department under a different manager. For the company it made sense. The new director wants to align all her teams into a single structure and wants to introduce a new role of Platform Manager for the web applications that will be an ongoing development requiring maintenance and management for years to come.
The 1st I knew of this was about 10 minutes before she was making a presentation in the Czech Republic. I was asked if I minded being called a Business Platform Manager in a presentation just about to take place. I said it was ok because I understood her need to present a single set of roles. I was involved in the meeting via Skype and saw a single slide presented that described what this new role was at a high level.
The slide that was presented showed it isn't the same role as a Business Project Manager role. For example the Platform Manager is expected to take on line management responsibilities. It is an on-going management role for an existing web application, not taking a project from inception to completion and then moving on to the next one.
As far as I knew, showing me as the Platform Manager in the presentation was purely for ease of communication and to present a single structure, not that I had agreed in any way to change my terms of employment.
I then discovered that my job title has been changed in the HR systems. My agreement to the presentation was taken as agreement to take on this role, with no proper consultation and no real job description.
This is not a role I would ever apply for. For a start I do not want to line manage, nor do I want to spend my days managing endless maintenance releases when I am a highly experienced and qualified project manager. It is effectively a demotion in terms of the job content although my pay remains the same. I feel it has just been imposed on me and my agreement taken for granted. I also feel that the company have breached my contract by changing my title and assuming they can amend my responsibilities without any form of consultation. I don't believe a 2 minute conversation could be called a consultation.
I raised the issue of my change of job title with my immediate line manager, who reports to the new director. He said he thought I'd agreed to it all as a result of the 2 minute conversation. I said no, I had only agreed to let it be presented at the meeting as a role within the new structure with my name currently attached to it. I pointed out that I don't agree with having my role changed over from a contractual/HR perspective, which is effectively what has happened.
I have asked that he have my title changed back and that said that there needs to be a proper consultation. Nothing is happening and I am concerned that the longer it goes on the less rights I will have to say I don't agree with this and don't want this role.
My question is
1. Can they just change my job like this or am I right that there should have been a proper consultation, a new job description and a new contract? If so what shoudl I do to get them to do this properly.
2. If I don't like/agree with the new role what are my options?
Kind Regards
Sue McKendry
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified solicitor and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.can you tell me the date when this meeting took place when you were ask to be called a platform manager and have you put in writing your concerns over this issue
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HiThe presentation happened on the 29th October this year. I didn't immediately spot that the HR systems had been updated as I had no reason to access them until a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I saw the change I wrote to my line manager this was on 23/11. He replied that he thought I had consented. I was very busy so said we would leave it for now and discuss later. I wrote again on 26/11 to say I had spoken to another manager who thought that this change should not have been made. This is further complicated by my line manager being in Italian, based in Italy and the director concerned is also Italian, based in Croatia so not easy to get everyone together to talk it through. Plus the director is inclined to act as if whatever she wants will happen and others will just fit in. This is why I need to be sure of my ground before I challenge her.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience delays.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. You mentioned that you had been in this role for 21 months so for now I assume that is how long you have been with this employer. If not please let me know and I will change my advice. On this basis your right are rather limited I'm afraid. The employer cannot generally just change your contract or terms and if they do this can be challenged by raising a grievance and eventually resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. However to make such a claim you need at least 2 years service. Assuming you don't you cannot challenge their actions. You can still raise the grievance but if that is rejected you either take up the new role or leave without being able to make a claim. The lengthy of service is key in such situations. If you have more than 2 years service please let me know and I can provide more details if needed. MI'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
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