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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50157
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have worked employer 10 months. I work

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I have worked for my employer for about 10 months. I work in a small office, and have a unique role as office manager and therefore earn a higher salary than anyone else in the office - except for the directors. I was employed as a sales consultant within the company, earning £20k part time, however I was offered the role of Office Manager in January with a pay increase to £27k, which I accepted.
A couple of weeks ago I was told verbally that they may have to make redundancies to reduce overheads as work had slowed down recently. I was very upset as I felt I was in the firing line, however they did say they would talk to everyone else in the office before they made a decision, at this point I did state that I may possibly be able to reduce my hours to keep my job once my husband finds work. On Friday of last week, I was called into a meeting and advised that I was being given one month notice, however they would like to offer me an administrator role with a paycut of £11k, taking my salary down to £16k. At no point have they spoken to anyone else in the office. I have never had any training, had any 1-2-1's or appraisals, or been advised if my performance was unsatisfactory.
At no point have I had anything in writing regarding this process, or the offer they are making. They have recently employed two new members of staff, one of which I believe has been employed to take over my roll. I am unsure what my rights are, whether they need to have done something different to what they have done, of whether I just have to accept the 1 month notice or the new job (which I can not afford to do with 2 children and a husband looking for work).
I have a meeting arranged for tomorrow morning, however I don't know what I should say or do. I should also point out that I was never given a contract of employment to sign, and only have a letter confirming my job offer and the hours and pay.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). So they could simply choose you as the one they wish to remove and not speak to anyone else or follow a fair procedure. It may be morally wrong but it is certainly not unlawful in the circumstances. If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice. The employer should have issued you with a written statement of employment particulars (similar to a contract) within 2 months of you starting but failure to do so does not change your legal rights. So yes, they should have given you some details of your terms but that does not change the fact your length of service means you can’t really claim anything in the circumstances. So you either accept the dismissal with a month’s notice or you stay with the company in the other job they have offered you. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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