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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47376
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been "re-organised" and now report directly to a supervisor

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I have been "re-organised" and now report directly to a supervisor in the USA who i've never met and who knows nothing of UK employment law. Is this acceptable?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
How long have you worked there?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My employer was bought on 1.1.2011, I'd worked for the original company since September 2002.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. What is the impact on your job from this change? How seriously affected is your job as a result?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm a 63 year old technical specialist working in chemical metrology. I work from a home office, I'm nominally employed by a UK Company but I have been part of a small group centred around a company site in Buchs, SG, Switzerland. My line manager is a German scientist, easily contactable and with a reasonable understanding of the technology behind my role. We talke often and I see him every month, on average.
Following the takeover of my employer at the end of November last year the reorganisation that will come into effect in a few weeks leaves me reporting to a lady based in Kentucky, USA. I've never met her, but I know she has no knowledge of my specialist area. I feel that being asked to report to a US employee who has no knowledge of what I do or UK Employment law is unreasonable and I want to refuse to accept this change. Do I have any grounds to do this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Whilst you van challenge the changes internally, such as through a grievance, to take it further may not be that easy. I understand that the changes have had an impact on how you are used to do things in the company and may take you out of your comfort zone, but that does not mean that they are serious enough to allow you to take further steps in challenging them. After the grievance procedure, your only option a challenging this is to resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal. To be successful in such a claim you would need to how that the employer had committed a serious breach of contract, which had made it impossible for you to continue working there. I agree as mentioned above that the changes may not be ideal, that they may take time getting used to, that it is not the same as it used to be before but are they serious enough to make the performance of your contract no longer possible. From a legal point of view that is unlikely in the circumstances – it just would not be viewed as such a serious breach to allow you to treat the whole contract as void and pursue a constructive dismissal claim. Of course it does not to you from resigning anyway but you will find it difficult to bring in a successful claim. So try the grievance route if you want, but if that is unsuccessful, you may wish to leave it at that. I'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
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47376
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben,
you have provided exactly the information I wanted: thanks.
The merger of the two businesses is going to result in opportunity for enhanced redundancy and I think that I need to express my dissatisfaction with the new arangement and see if I can opt for redundancy.
That is it for now!
Peter
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi Peter, thanks for getting back to me. As promised I will give you the information on constructive dismissal should you choose to use it in any way. This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long. A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario). The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away. If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal. Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal. 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. Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben,
Excellent advice, thanks!
This process will take some weeks to go through, they (Sigma Aldrich Inc and Merck KgAA) are merging two business both with close to 10,000 employees spread all over the world.
We expect final confirmation of new rolls in April/May. I'm working with a couple of L3 Managers (I'm possibly L4, but may be L5) on shaping my future role, but if it doesn't work out then can I approach them about leaving under a settlement agreement.
Financially it is not an issue, my pension investments mean I can afford to simply quit. But I'd rather not do that.
I'll get back to you in due course, but probably not before April.
Peter
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
No problem, any time. Just make sure you start your quesiton with For Ben Jones so it gets to me please. Thanks