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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Approximately 4 years ago my employer altered the amount we

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Approximately 4 years ago my employer altered the amount we got paid. We used to get time and a half at weekends. This was stopped but they did not draw us all up a new contract. Now they have called the two of us that are left in and told us that our workplace is not in a very good situation financially and have taken the equivalent hours off to take £72.00 off of two of us per week. They are going to replace these hours with volunteers. They are also removing any responsibilities from us which makes my job seem almost worthless to me. I am a stewardess in a british legion club and this affects one bar man that is left as well. They have told the cleaners to go and other bar staff that were working. I have worked here, very hard too since 1998 and have had this job since february 2000. Please could you tell me how we stand we do not know if we will be able to manage on the remaining money. This is due to start on 1st March. They told us about this 2 weeks ago this thursday coming. Sorry I know it sounds complicated. Kind Regards XXXXX XXXXX
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. What your employer is proposing to do is alter you terms. There are several ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are:

1. By receiving the employee’s express consent.
2. By forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').
3. By giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the changes.

If the employee agrees to the changes then that would usually put an end to the matter.

If the changes are introduced forcefully then the following options are open to the employee:

1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that they are working ‘under protest’. This means that the employee does not agree with the changes but is only working them because they feel they are forced to. In the meantime they should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.

2. If the changes are serious enough (e.g. a change to pay, duties, place of work, etc.) the employee may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without undue 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 the employee having at least 1 year’s continuous service.

3. Finally, 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 justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for dismissing an employee who refuses to accept the variation in terms. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, the employee 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 1 year’s continuous would apply.

It is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to the employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer carte blanche to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Your answer no.2 resigning and claiming contructive dismissal. We have been told that the club has very large bills owing and that there would be no chance of any redundancy. How would I stand if the club went bankrupt or was about to go bankrupt? Would there be any chance of any compensation at all? Julie

that will be unlikely in the circumstances. You will be able to recover any pay and holidays due to you before resigning, together with notice - these you can claim from the Government,. however in terms of future compensation you will not be covered and will be relying on the employer having the money and assets to pay you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What would I be entitled to having worked there for 15 years and same job for 13.


in a constructive dismissal claim - that depends on when you find a new job - you are only getting compensation for loss of earnings for having been forced to resign, so if you find a new job straight away then your compensation will be rather low