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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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I am on secondment to another company within our group of companies

Resolved Question:

I am on secondment to another company within our group of companies and the secondment is due to end on 1st October. My old job does not exist due to a merger and I wish to return to my substantive post or similar. I have worked for the company for 13 years. My employer is stating that I may have to apply for a job but there are currently no vacancies. What are my rights?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were any guarantees given to you in relation to coming back to your old job or any other job?
Customer:

Hi Ben

Customer:

when I asked for a guarantee to be written into the agreement I was asked to sign I was told that this was not possible in writing as nobody is guaranteed a job. I reluctantly signed a letter with my director verbally agreeing that I could come back to a role comparable with my original one. I have made it clear that I was not happy with the secondment all the way through.

Customer:

The letter does state that I remain an employee of the original company reporting to the same manager as before but with an additional reporting line to a manager in the company I am seconded to.

Ben Jones :

When you go on secondment, your rights on return will very much depend on what was agreed before you left your original job. There is no automatic protection or guarantee that your old job will be available on your return and if the employer wanted to offer such a guarantee, it should have been formally included in the terms of the secondment agreement or some other separate agreement. In the absence of such, whether you can return to your original job, or any other job with that employer, would depend on what availability there is at the time. Even if positions are available, it may not guarantee you first refusal and the employer could require you to apply for these positions before they consider whether you are suitable for them.

Customer:

OK thanks Ben. I think I will start applying for other jobs in that case. I guess the verbal agreement counts for nothing then?

Ben Jones :

it will stand but from what you said it still does not provide a guarantee, are there actually vacant comparable jobs at present?

Customer:

I know a director is leaving and this is prompting a re-structure and there are a couple of other new roles that I could slot into. As I am quite senior the board of the group is involved in the decision making process as I have been told that they don't want me to leave as I am their top sales person. So I guess there are a few options for me I just don't know what they are yet!

Ben Jones :

the verbal agreement will be relevant but of course it would not be as strong as something you have in black and white. So at this stage I would enquire about any opportunities that could be suitable for you, especially as it sounds they do not simply want to let you go. his will eventually comedown to what is available and if there is nothing suitable, you cannot really hold the employer responsible for it

Customer:

OK thanks for your help. Unfortunately I thought this may happen but I wasn't consulted or given any choice about going on secondment in the first place. Whilst I don't think it was their intention in this case, some employers could do this in order to manager people out of a company. I will be less trusting in future!

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 38511
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
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