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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50169
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been with my company yrs, and they want me to

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I have been with my company for 9 yrs, and they want me to change from a key account manager looking after motor finance brokers in the North of England (One In Birmingham Which I Visit Monthly) to a business development manager role looking after a set number of motor dealers. I have verbally accepted the role in mid October, and due to start the new role on the 1st November this week.
However since the verbal acceptance it has since become apparant that there will be far more travel and potential Saturday travel to Scotland/Northern Ireland and the South of the UK.
1, Can I refuse to start and inform my HR team that I have decided to stay in my current role?
2, My Director has told me he has someone else lined up to cover the brokers I currently manage, and they are due to start on the 1st November. Can the company do this?
3, I would prefer to leave the company and negotiate a settlement/compromise agreement if I can turn down the role at this late stage, can I do this?.
Would appreciate a speedy response
Many Thanks Stuart.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the travel not disclosed earlier?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was mentioned as a change of focus rather than a change of role, and would incorporate dealers in the North, however it has transpired Newport Pagnell/Cardiff/Cambridge/Belfast and Scotland would be required which means significantly more travel and overnight stays, where my contract clearly states my base is home office, and only a requirement to travel to head office in Hook twice a month, but in practice this has been once a month for many years.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Relist: Other. Looking for a quick reply to my question this evening if possible as I need to confirm to my employer tomorrow before I look to start the new role.

Happy for you to reply tomorrow Ben, I realise it's a little late this evening. If you could come back to me as early as possible tomorrow, that would be very much appreciated. Regards Stuart.

Hello Stuart I am very sorry that I could not get back to you last night. I tried to but the site was down due to technical issues so I could not access it. I am not sure if I am still in time to reply to you but if that is the case please let me know and I will respond. Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Ben, yes I am happy for you to come back to me this morning with some advice.

Thank you. To answer your questions:
1. If you had accepted the new role, even if this was only done verbally, you would have entered into a binding contract with the employer. So refusing to start this new role would place you in breach of contract. The employer could potentially take further action against you in the circumstances, such as disciplining you for refusing to undertake your new duties. However, you could try and use a defence if possible, such as if the employer misdescribed the role to you or omitted essential information which would have made you question the suitability of the role in the first place.
2. Yes they can. As mentioned you had accepted the new role and a verbal acceptance can be just as legally binding as a written one. So they could have relied on the assumption that you had agreed to relinquish your old role and start the new one and find a replacement for you.
3. You can request a settlement agreement at any point – it’s just that the employer cannot be forced to agree to one. So if you can find reasons as to why you cannot proceed with the job, which you can apportion to the employer (such as misleading you or not providing essential information about the job), then that would make your negotiating position stronger. In the end, if they refuse to allow you to return to your old role and you do not wish to start the new one, there are only a couple of options – you either get disciplined and possibly dismissed by them, claiming unfair dismissal, or you resign and claim constructive dismissal. With either routes you could still try and negotiate a settlement agreement along the way.
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
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many Thanks Ben, one last question relating to your reply below, and I will close this with an excellent rating.

"The employer could potentially take further action against you in the circumstances, such as disciplining you for refusing to undertake your new duties."

What would be the likely result of this action against me, could it be dismissal without notice?, I've been with the company for nine years, and their notice period to me is 3 months. Can they dismiss be without notice due to misconduct?

To dismiss without notice you must be guilty of gross misconduct in the circumstances it would likely be for insubordination. This is where you refuse to follow instructions. Technically there is nothing stopping them from going down that route but they will have to justify it and of course you can challenge their decision and pursue them for unfair dismissal or for your notice period. Hope this clarifies things
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