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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 59762
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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After having some problems at work about trying to make me

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Hi,
After having some problems at work about trying to make me work more days and a late shift, I requested looking in my file as they said I have nothing in writing, I found in my file some notes of a meeting called flexible working request,he says they are reviewing flexible working, I say ok he then says you have a flexible working agreement, I say yes starting at 6am till 1 with 2 days off which was thurs friday, this meeting took place 3/4 years ago would you say that this would be classed as I flexible working agreement and that they cant force me to change, the days off and hours have been going on for about 10 years.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

SO are they basically trying to change the current hours that you have had in place all thus time?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi, Yes they want me to work 5 days instead of 3 and do a late shift starting at 1pm to 8pm, which I have never done a late shift in the nearly 17 years of working there.

Ok thanks. Whilst a flexible working request approval would generally result in a permanent change to your terms, it can still be subject to future changes just as any other terms you have in place.

There are occasions when an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. If they wish to do so, there are a few ways, in which they can do it:

· Receive the employee’s consent to the changes.

· Give the employee the required notice to terminate their current contract and re-engage them under a new contract containing the changes.

· Simply force the changes through with no notice or consultation.

The following options are available to employees to challenge these actions:

1. If the employer forces the changes through, the employee can start working on the new terms, then write to the employer making it clear that this is done ‘under protest’. This means that they do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do it as they have no other option. In the meantime, they should try and resolve the issue by raising a formal grievance with the employer. This is only a short-term solution though as the longer someone works under the terms, even under protest, the more likely it is that they will eventually be deemed to have accepted them.

2. If the employer gives notice to terminate the current contract and re-engages the employee under a one, it could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify their actions if they had a sound business reason for doing so, usually from an urgent financial perspective. If no such reason exists, it is possible to make a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal, subject to having at least 2 years’ continuous service with that employer. This would be on the grounds that there has technically been a dismissal because the original contract was terminated by the employer.

3. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., it is also possible to resign and claim constructive dismissal. The employee must accept the changes and immediately resign in response to them. A claim is again dependent on the employee having at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks for that, would you say that having that in my file would mean I could go to them and say that I do have something in writing for a flexible agreement, I already have a grievence in with them about trying to force me back to 5 days after doing 3 days for about 10 years, I did have something in my file when I first dropped to 4 days but they have lost that out my file, so I guess I was just wondering/hoping that finding these notes on a meeting where a manager says I have an agreement would give me some help to stop them from putting me through all of this stress, I suffer from depression and have anxiety so was very hopeful when I find it.

yes it would help, but even if the current hours were in your contract in black and white, the employer could still try and go down the change to contract routes mentioned above and your rights in the end would still be as summarised. Hope this clarifies?

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