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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My brother is a vulnerable person.He and a fellow employee

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My brother is a vulnerable person.He and a fellow employee were recently asked if they wished to take redundancy. It transpires that the other employee persuaded him that they didn't want to take redundancy. He was senior by virtue of having been employed longer(some 37 years). The other employee then took the redundancy package. Whilst I appreciate that that is not the employers fault I wonder if they hold a degree of culpability because of his vulnerability. Also he was now expected to do the extra work following the exit of the other person but no increase in remuneration was offered. There was apparently not enough work for 2 people but more than enough for one person. I have spoken to his employer but they state that they are unable to do anything about the situation. There does seem to be an effort being made to get him to leave. Are you able to offer any advice please.

Do you have a specific question about this ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What I am trying to get for my brother is a severance package.He has been diagnosed as an Aspergers sufferer and at the moment seems to be being put under a lot of stress which I have to deal with. This can be difficult as I live over 100 miles from him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think that there are grounds for a claim of some sort against his employer

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

In terms of the redundancy issue and the other employee persuading him not to take it, unfortunately there is little that can be done about that and as you have identified it is not the employer’s fault. So the key now is to try and argue that his contract has been changed by virtue of this other person leaving and our brother ending up with the extra workload, which he did not have before all this. It could be that he is being asked to work more than what he was contracted to do and as such he could try and challenge it as a variation to his existing contract of employment. It is however important to check what he was contracted to do and if these additional duties could fall within what he is contracted to do.

Even if the contract could cover this additional workload, if it causes him additional stress and it affects him due to his health, it could come down to the employer to deal with it in terms of reducing it in some way. So whilst you may not necessarily be able to get him a severance with a payout, he could try and push to be placed back in a similar position to what he was in before the changes occurred.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the right he has to challenge this further and how to do it, 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 I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. It is as I feared. I rate the information 5.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try and ascertain the details of my brothers contract.

You are welcome. In the event he wants to challenge this further, as mentioned he could try and treat this as a change to his contract, although check that fist.

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.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved 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 and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

Ben Jones and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,
I have no further questions at present although I may have when certain facts are related to me.

No worries get back to me any time, just start your question for my attention, thanks