Thank you. First of all to dispel any thoughts on dis crimination, that would only occur if you have been treated detrimentally on grounds of a protected characteristic, and there is only a limited number of them. These include things like age, gender, race, religion, disability, etc. So being selected for redundancy just because you were not one of the people applying for the new roles would not be discrimination. It can however amount to an unfair redundancy procedure. Whilst the employer chooses what criteria to base their redundancy selection on, they must ensure it is fair and reasonable and that it is based on objective criteria. Whilst they could make those who are unsuccessful with the newly created jobs redundant, this should be an exercise they apply now rather than keep it in mind for the future. In other words, if someone does not apply for the new job now, then this should be an issue that takes effect now, rather than something they use against them in possible future redundancies.
In terms of the proposed changes, restructure or not it is still a change to your current contracts. 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.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the option of constructive dismissal and how it can apply here, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you