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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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For the past four years I have been working as the sole employee

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For the past four years I have been working as the sole employee of a company set up to deliver a software solution I have developed, supported and owned by a larger sister company.

Having successfully done this we have expanded over the past six months taking on four more computer type people working under myself. Three months ago a business development manager was recruited to move the company forward and expand our client base, and I was told that I would be reporting to him.

There has been a little awkwardness but on the whole respectful. However recently we had a one-2-one meeting where he said he wanted me to move out of my private office and to move my desk to the shared area. When I started the job I specifically negotiated for my own office as I needed the peace, so I asked for a few days to consider, which he initially agreed to but then he kept coming back to and telling me he couldn't see what I had to think about, and that he was my manager and if he was telling me to move I should.

From an employment law side of things, what is my standing here? There are other managers who have private offices within the group (sister company) and they have not been asked to give up their offices, and the reasons given have been pretty tenuous. If I were to refuse to move, sighting reasons around productivity and collaboration what would be recourse on both sides?



Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Arr the effects of you moving so serious that it would be impossible for you to perform your job or is it just a personal preference?


It would be fairly hard to argue this would stop me doing my job, but it certainly is arguable that it would make my job harder... but on the whole it would be preference. It's not even so much about the office as the circumstances around it...

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please


Cheers Ben.

Ben Jones :

Your rights would very much depend on whether this can be shown to be a contractual right or just seething which is there and provided at the employer’s discretion. Obviously the first place to look at would be your contract to see if there are any specific terms dealing with this. Assuming that is not the case then you will have to try and argue that because having your own office has always been the case and it was intended for this to be a permanent benefit, it has become an implied contractual term through ‘custom and practice’. Sadly there is no way of showing for certain if that was the case and only a court can determine if it was indeed the case. Nevertheless, it is an argument you can raise with them.


If they refuse to agree and insist that you move to the open office area, then your first option would be to consider dealing with this by raising a complaint, usually done through a formal grievance. This will prompt the employer to investigate the issue and deal with it in a formal and, hopefully, impartial manner. You can appeal the outcome if needed.


If the grievance and its appeal are rejected, then your only available option after that is to resign and claim constructive dismissal. However, that is a difficult claim and to be successful you have to show that there was a serious breach of contract by the employer, which had left you with no other option but to resign. It may be difficult to claim that the changes they made were so serious that you could no longer remain there and as such this could be a risky move.


Cheers XXXXX XXXXX was pretty much what I was looking for, the implied contractual term would be a good place to start. I'm only looking for a bit of ammo, as the manager can really get quite bullish, and while I am generally quite compliant and not one to kick against the pricks I have to make a stand some point.


Thank you for your help and prompt reply.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome, all the best

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