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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22895
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Chris, I have recently been given a new contract that

Customer Question

Hi Chris,
I have recently been given a new contract that changes my role significantly. I was told in December 14 that a part of the company I worked for would be sold, that I was not to worry as, when that happened, I would be offered a job working for a different part of the company. I mentioned I was not sure if I wanted to work solely for one dept and that it would require further discussion nearer the time. I heard nothing further until Mar 15 when a colleague mentioned they had been told I would no longer do my role (as a cost saving) and it would be done by another member of their team. I was also told that the business would continue to trade for the time being. I was completely unaware of this, felt blind-sided and disappointed at how matters had been handled. I mentioned my disappointment to my boss. She apologised and after some 4 weeks gave me this new contract with a covering letter saying I must've misunderstood the conversation in December 14. There was no misunderstanding. Is this legal - I am unsure of my rights in such a situation.
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
The important issue with any restructuring is consultation, discussion with you and mutual agreement on the changes. These changes appeared to have been handled rather badly. In your employment contract, you do not need to consent to any changes unless you have had a proper opportunity to discuss the options. It is no longer common to have a redundancy agreement, but significant changes such as you describe would often trigger a right to redundancy. In a situation without a redundancy agreement, where they have made significant changes without following proper procedure, you can claim a personal grievance for the disadvantage in your employment. In a situation like this where I assume your salary would continue on much the same basis, but it is the nature of your job and the job description which would change, any damages you get would be fairly small, although you would get some general damages for the lack of procedural fairness. So the starting point would be to continue the discussion, but record your dissatisfaction with the procedure, and asked what they will do by way of compensation for the failure to consult
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
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