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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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My wife has been with her present employers for around 10 months.

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My wife has been with her present employers for around 10 months. She holds the position of Stock Controller. The aim of the role was to manage the external supply base to ensure full and on time delivery of goods and to provide metrics on which to base strategic purchasing decisions and to introduce SLA’s and business agreements. Her employer has not allowed her to carry out this role and has given her other duties as an order raising clerk. This was brought up by my wife in her first review during her probationary period, of which she should have had 3 reviews, and she was assured that the role would develop into the role she applied for. She was not made aware at any point that her conduct or standard of work was not satisfactory. She has a contract of employment stating her job title of stock controller, her current salary and her agreed hours of work, but she does not have a detailed job description. The HR Manager has now asked her to sign a letter which removes the title of Stock controller, reduces her salary by 12% and introduces a weekend rota working shift system of 1 weekend in 6, albeit with time off in the week before and after the weekend working. My wife has refused to sign anything as there is no detail behind why the change has come about nor are there any details regarding the new role or even a job description. It appears that the company is not yet ready for anyone to act as a Stock Controller (No one is in a similar role as it was a stand alone position) and wishes to bring her in line with the other members of the team following a reorganisation. Where does she stand?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. If she is forced into accepting these changes would she rather leave?


Yes she would rather leave. It is not so much the changes its the way it has been done


Just shows what I know. Just spoke to my wife and she would rather stay and do the job she was supposed to be employed for

Ben Jones :

Her rights will unfortunately be rather limited. As a starting point, 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.


The issue is that whilst she has less than 2 years' continuous service with the employer she is not protected against unfair dismissal. It means that if she does not accept the changes she can be dismissed quite easily by the employer, or she could be forced to resign, without being able to make a claim against them.


She could challenge the proposed changes through an internal grievance but if that gets her nowhere then it is really only an option of deciding to stay and accept the changes, refuse to accept them and face potential dismissal or refuse and leave by resigning. Sadly if her employment is terminated she cannot challenge that as she does not have sufficient service.


Much as I thought as she does not have the 2 years service.


Thanks for your prompt help

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome and sorry it was not necessarily the answer you wanted. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and all the best

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