How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50138
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I am looking to hand my notice in at work. My contract makes

Customer Question

I am looking to hand my notice in at work. My contract makes two contradictory statements:
1. A paragraph in my contract states that I work under the terms of an Industrial Agreement between my employer and my Union. There is a part of that Agreement which states that I must give 12 months notice.
2. There is a separate paragraph in my contract which solely states I must give 3 months notice to terminate the position.
The company have said this second statement was a mistake in the drafting of the contract. Effectively a cut and paste error, from a different contract, and it should have stated 12 months, as per the Industrial Agreement. I know they made a mistake, but that's the contract I signed, and I would like to take advantage of the 3 months notice.
How much notice must I give?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you been there?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is a temporary position (4years) which I have taken up as an additional area of responsibility at work which is in addition to my normal employment post. I started this post in March 15. I have been in my main role with the company for 18 years. I am not resigning my main position, just the additional temporary role.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Are colleagues in the same post under a 12 month notice period too and is that common knowledge and accepted?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Most colleagues have a 12 month notice, but a group of us had this 3 month period entered in error. It's not a commonly known notice period, you would have to delve into the agreement to establish the 12 month requirement. . I did sign on the basis of 3 months notice.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Very few people hand in their notice before the end of the 4 year period, so it's rarely discussed or relevant.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Are we still conversing? Sorry, I've only used this service once before, and that was some time ago. Am I paying £26 for the whole conversation or per response?! And how do we end the conversation?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
When there is a direct conflict like this, there is no easy way to determine which one actually applies. There is only one answer but that depends on the employer’s intentions, what the actual error was, what the common situation in these circumstances is and so on. It will be a mix of factors and it may not be easy to work out. There is evidence to suggest that the employer had intended there to be a 12 month notice period, especially if this was the common position in workers in your role. Also if they can show that there was indeed a contract they copied this from which had the 3 month notice period it could help them argue that this was indeed a sloppy cut and paste job. But it is for them to prove that what they argue is what they say. When there is a conflict it is for the party trying to rely on the terms to prove that what they claim is correct. In this case you have 3 months in your contract and you can assume it is what you have to give and it is for the employer to prove that it should be 12 months. The only way they can challenge this is by going to court and making a breach of contract claim, which is highly unlikely. So whilst the employer has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. Also the employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract. So the risks of leaving with 3 months notice are not great and you could take them and let he employer prove their case that it must be 12 months. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Just to clarify you only pay one fee for the whole conversation
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.