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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been working prison service full time

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I have been working for the prison service full time for 3 years. The reason why I was sessional was because the service was that there was a hold put on all not able to advertising. Last year I had 2 interviews in a short period of time. The first was for a Christian chaplain position. This was advertised externally and was open and competetive. I was the successful candidate. I then was asked to apply for the managing chaplain position which was vacant and because the prison was going under a new structure it was only open to internal candidates. I was asked to apply as I had just passed the other interview but at the time had not received a contract but was still working there full time sessionally. The prison service are now saying that I was not eligible to apply for this job and so will not issue a contract. I have though been working as the managing chaplain since july. Please can you advise what employment rights I have over this issue.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were you ever offered the position and accept it?
Customer: Yes I was offered job verbally
Ben Jones :

thanks and when you were offered the job did you accept it? You also mention that you have been in that position since July, was that following your application and after you had accepted the position?

Customer: Yes I started working as managing chaplain after the job interview and being told I was the successful candidate
Customer: i also accepted offer but this was all done through word of mouth
Ben Jones :

You may try and argue that the employer’s actions now amount to a breach of contract. Yu were offered a job and accepted it, you were even moved into it and allowed to work in the position for a number of months. Even if the offer was made in error, the employer should have really identified that earlier on and taken appropriate steps to rectify it, such as advising you in good time and minimising the effects this may have. However, they have allowed you to work in the post for quite some time and have only now realised their apparent error. In the circumstances you can therefore claim that they are acting in breach of contract and that removing you from this position would breach your contract of employment which has been in place since you accepted the offer.

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.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer: Yes that is really helpful. I just needed to know if I have a strong case for my grievance and your advice has helped greatly.
Ben Jones :

you are welcome and wish you all the best

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