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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50206
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Can you regrade jobs, lessen the salary without giving the

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Can you regrade jobs, lessen the salary without giving the person an opportunity of redundancy. They are calling it realignment.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?


28 years

Ben Jones :

That is possible because it could be treated by the employer as a change in your contract driven by business needs and it would not necessarily meet the definition of redundancy. Under law a redundancy only occurs in the following circumstances:

1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed

2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites

3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind

First two obviously won’t apply so it would really depend whether the employer is facing a reduced need for people to do a specific job or if it is just a reorganization where the needs are the same but it is just the people’s terms and duties that are changing.

So this could actually be treated as a change to your contractual terms and conditions rather than a redundancy. 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.


If the job compares favourably with other colleagues posts and their grade is not affected, could this be grounds for greviance?

Ben Jones :

yes, certainly you may raise a grievance if it appears the selection was unfair or the employer had too narrow a pool of employees when deciding on which jobs should be affected


What constitutes 'too narrow a pool'

Ben Jones :

there is certainly no legal definition of that it would depend on the circumstances in any event - as you said here there are others doing similar jobs so why were they not included, why was the pool for the changes not widened to them...but it will change on a case by case basis


Ok thanks Ben for your help.

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

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