Q&A - Can my employer change my contract to suit himself?

Q:    Early on in the coronavirus pandemic I was put on furlough, but I went back to work full time in March. Since then I have ended up being on call almost every weekend due to various colleagues having to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID. I have pointed this out to the boss and have also pointed out that I have not been paid any extra and it is contrary to what it says in my contract. He told me if I want to keep my job that’s how it is and that our contracts are going to be changed anyway.  Can they do that?

A:     Firstly you need to closely examine the wording of your contract, as often these days contracts include a clause that says employers can make changes without the employee’s agreement. Then you should seek legal advice!

Even if such a clause is included in your contract it does not necessarily give your employer carte blanche to do whatever he likes, and it certainly does not allow him to act unreasonably. Whether it is physically written down or not, every employment contract includes certain implied duties on the part of the employer, including duties of trust, confidence and good faith, as well as a duty to clearly explain any changes.

Your employer must consult with you about any changes he wishes to introduce and he must explain fully their implications. He must then give you reasonable time to consider the changes and put forward any queries you have. You are entitled to put forward ideas as to how the proposed changes could be avoided without the business being affected, and he must take your views into consideration. But do take that legal advice mentioned earlier.

Article June 2021

This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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James Denton

James Denton

Solicitor

Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham