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Is a different grade enough to make alternative employment unsuitable?

(26 Posts)
SierraFerrara Thu 19-Oct-17 10:24:18

I was put on redeployment and no alternative jobs were found so I was given notice of redundancy. I was meant to leave in a few days.

Prior to this but unrelated to the redeployment I was told I was not capable of doing my job. No capability procedures had been started but the org has accepted this was the case and there is apparently lots of evidence of this.

I've now been offered an alternative job which the org feels is a suitable alternative. It's a very similar job on paper but at a higher grade. I would never and have never applied for a job at that grade internally or externally. They are saying because I'll be on a trial as per policy, it doesn't matter what the grade is and that it might come down anyway.

My questions are:
1. Is the grade difference enough to say it's not suitable? Especially as they said I couldn't do it at a lower grade.
2. Does this "pause the clock" regarding my leave date? Even if I refuse will it affect my leave date?

SierraFerrara Thu 19-Oct-17 10:32:58

I should add that the main reason I am reluctant to take a trial period is that work and my previous role made me ill. I was off sick with stress and wasn't sleeping and so on. My confidence has been destroyed and the same job, let alone at a higher grade would really impact on me negatively. I have been applying for completely different types of jobs for that reason.

I also have another job lined up with a start date but that's by the by.

daisychain01 Thu 19-Oct-17 13:58:12

There are some things that don’t add up so forgive some questions, but without them it’s difficult to give any useful opinions/suggestions about your situation

1. You said you were “redeployed” (what reason did your employer give?) but you then said that, independent of the redeployment, they told you that you were incapable of doing your job. I don’t understand how those two things were not in some way related.

2. They have now found you an alternative job on a higher grade, but as you pointed out, if they say you couldn’t do the job before, how can they change to telling you it is a suitable alternative.

3. Have they given you a timelimited offer, by which time you need to revert with acceptance/decline of the new role? If you were meant to leave “in a few day” they should have clarified what this new role offer means in terms of timescales to transition over - it should be included in their summary of offer. Unless this has all been verbal only at this stage....?

Can you book a meeting with HR as they should give you the opportunity for Q&A. Have you met the new manager yet? This could influence your decision whether you feel comfortable working with the new person.

A benefit of redeployment is continuity of employment. I would give it a try as you may find it at least buys you extra time to look outside at other opportunities. Or the new role may work out better than you think...

daisychain01 Thu 19-Oct-17 14:01:16

Btw, if you have worked there for 2+ years, you have statutory employment right, so they can’t just show you the door.

As they haven’t gone through any capability or performance processes, they would need to do that long before they can tell you it’s your final day. Don’t resign for now, see what they do.

SierraFerrara Thu 19-Oct-17 14:46:16

Thanks Daisychain. This is all very outing if anyone knows me irl so I need to be careful.

The redeployment/redundancy is all a bit shakey legally but I was OK with this route.

I was redeployed before they looked at capability proceedings. Again, capability was all very shakey because they didn't follow the procedures. It's very he said/she said. Nothing formal so they can't acknowledge it really.

Redeployment was due to a breakdown in communication with my manager. I can't say much but I was happy to be redeployed.

I think realistically capability did play a part in the redeployment but they can't say that as they didn't start/record anything formally.

I guess on that same vein I can't use it as reason to refuse the higher grade. There is nothing formal.

They told me about the possible job this morning and wanted me to confirm it then. I wouldn't. They want my answer by tomorrow lunch. I guess that's because I'm meant to be leaving in a few days.

Everything was verbal. I wasn't expecting this so didn't ask what I should have done. I've asked for everything we discussed in writing by end of today but not sure I'll get it.

I know the suggested team and I wouldn't be opposed to working for them in another capacity but honestly, my confidence has gone and the thought of going into the same type of role terrifies me.

I do have another job to go to after my redundancy period ends. If I didn't I would go for the trial period and suck it up for the reasons you say but the problem is that I doubt I'll pass the trial period, it will really cause me personal health issues and I'll lose out on the job I have lined up.

I've been there longer than 2 years.

The time between my last day and my start date for the job I have lined up is so tight. I can't afford anything to "stop the clock" on my redundancy period.

flowery Thu 19-Oct-17 15:38:38

Does higher grade actually mean higher salary? If the job is very similar then you might struggle to argue it's not suitable, or to not at least trial it.

SierraFerrara Thu 19-Oct-17 16:11:07

More money and more responsibility Flowery.

BubblesBuddy Thu 19-Oct-17 21:32:00

A job is selected for redundancy - it is not the person doing it that is selected. However, once a new job structure is produced, the employer must decide who is offered a job within the new structure. Your employer has taken their time and has apparently changed their mind about keeping you. They are allowed to take into account your performance in a previous role, regardless of capability being started or not, and your health record when offering you alternative employment, or not.

They appear to have given you very little time to consider the new job. As it appears suitable in terms of similarity to your old job and on a higher salary, it is difficult to see how you can turn it down and keep your redundancy payment. Apart from giving you very little time to consider the job, they don't seem to have acted unreasonably, just very slowly. You could negotiate a longer period to discuss the offer as you are still an employee. Go and see HR to discuss this.

If you take the new job you have lined up, you may feel better in the long run. The redundancy payment may well go, but if you are happier in your job, will it be worth it? Only you know what's best for you.

RavingRoo Thu 19-Oct-17 21:35:31

Capability and grade doesn’t often go hand in hand, my grade is lower than peers but my salary is greater as only a few people in the country can do what I do. If I ever wanted to leave my role, my company would expect me to jump 2 grades.

BubblesBuddy Thu 19-Oct-17 21:58:19

We are talking about a Capability Procedure. How is your grade lower than your peers but your salary higher? Who are your peers? How is this pertinent?

daisychain01 Thu 19-Oct-17 23:05:23

So your options are

1. Accept redundancy because you don’t like the thought of the job they are offering you - you leave with a tax free payment and can move to the new job you mentioned upthread.

2. Accept the new ‘redeployed’ role on higher grade/salary, and see how it goes. If you go for this option, it’s best if you can gain aces to the new role particulars in writing including confirmation of probationary period and ensure other aspects of your employment contract remain unchanged including continuity of service intact.

It sounds like whichever option you choose, they will need to be flexible about your departure / move date. It’s all still up in the air, they need to allow you time, you do have employment rights.

Take comfort in the fact they must value your skills and contribution otherwise they wouldn’t have found you an alternative role.

daisychain01 Thu 19-Oct-17 23:07:23

Sorry it should say “ gain access to the new role particulars “

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 09:44:18

Thanks all.

I wish it was about valuing me but they don't. I can't go into it but this is just another event in a series of events. It's no coincidence that this role has suddenly appeared at this point in time and it's nothing to do with keeping me on.

I've calmed down and looked through the role and actually, despite the pressure they put me under there are significant differences between what I actually do and what it says on my JD. My real daily tasks don't align with the proposed role.

So my new questions are:
1. They will absolutely not be flexible on dates. No chance. So has this offer and my refusal affected my leave date? Can they, as they suggested, use this to pause the redundancy timeframe? I know that if I had a trial period it would stop it for the length of the trial period but can they stop it on the basis that they offered me what they considered suitable alternative role?
2. If they insist the job is a suitable alternative, what happens next? As I say, I am due to, and need to, leave in a few days.
3. Given the timeframes involved, I don't feel they gave me sufficient time to consider the suitability of the role, ask questions of the new managers etc. especially as myself and the people in the proposed team aren't in the office over this time. Could I argue that this was unreasonable?

tralaaa Fri 20-Oct-17 11:58:43

Be careful with the new role as they may deem you incapable and sack you

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 12:27:34

Thanks Taalaa. I'm not too bothered about that because I would get a trial period and if it didn't work out I would just go back to this part of the redundancy process so they wouldn't sack me for capability.

flowery Fri 20-Oct-17 12:30:23

1. They can't stop your termination date if you refuse to undertake a trial period for what they consider to be a suitable alternative. Your own post is still redundant.
2. If they insist it's a suitable alternative and you disagree and refuse to undertake a trial to find out, you'll still be redundant but you will have forfeited your entitlement to statutory redundancy pay.
3. They are offering you a trial to establish suitability, so you can't say they haven't given you sufficient time.

Ultimately, to protect your redundancy payment you are best to argue that it isn't suitable on the basis you describe, but if they insist it is, undertake a trial period to give you evidence that it isn't. That way you can't be painted as being unreasonable.

But if you want/need to leave without doing the trial, you'll just have to reject it as being unsuitable, putting those reasons in writing, and hope they don't argue the point and will let you go with your redundancy pay intact.

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 14:12:21

Yes Flowery. I think I need to just keep repeating it isn't a suitable alternative to them. I'm not just saying that, it really isn't.

I seem to have shot myself in the foot by sorting out another job haven't I?

It's all very complicated for various reasons, mainly my employer not following employment law and trying to cover themselves after the event. I would love to share but can't.

However, union have now said they are likely to wash their hands of it all which I'm really angry about because it is my employer not following policy and then trying to back me into a corner which has caused this mess.

Union are saying that they can't comment on if it's suitable alternative employment (I would have at least expected them to cast an eye over the two JDs to look for obvious differences/smilarities even if they can't give a legal opinion) but that if I don't do a trial period, they won't support me because they say I'll have made myself redundant. They don't seem to care that they are different roles.

They've given me some pretty poor advice though, including not telling me my options at various points which has then left me with fewer choices.

If my employer insists it's suitable, I'll have to get an employment lawyer involved. I can't work there. My health will suffer.

MrsWobble3 Fri 20-Oct-17 14:41:58

But if you have another job to go to you don't need to work there. It's obviously disappointing to walk away from a redundancy payment but if you've already lined up replacement income is it worth the stress to pursue this?

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 15:10:39

Financially yes. Sadly.

daisychain01 Fri 20-Oct-17 16:08:02

Can you document exactly which elements of the new JD are unsuitable for example you don’t have the skills or experience? Just for your records, for later.

If the job is on better pay, then why not take them up on the trial of the position and make it clear to the new manager what you need in terms of new training and Dev. Those are reasonable expectations for any new role. I can’t imagine the new manager would have an axe to grind in terms of not helping you to be successful would they? It would be in their best interests to have you as a fully functioning contributing member of the team.

I wonder if you are under valuing your skills and taking too negative a view before you’ve even tried it?

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 16:55:52

I've sent a long but relevent (I hope) email to them outlining the key differences in the roles. I came up with 7 good reasons, at least 4 of which I feel are indesputable.

I've spent the almost three years being told how useless I am, professionally and personally. I have no idea whether I am capable anymore but I have never wanted a role at a higher grade. Even when I was confident at work I had no intention of going for a role at this level. I don't want to work at that grade. There is quite a big difference between responsibilities and expectations. I am not at a point where I can, or want to, put myself under that pressure. As I say I had to take time off due to work related stress.

It's taken me over two years to get a new job which is why I'm so reluctant to lose it. If I thought I could just get a new one, I'd let the new one go and do the trial period.

I also have a genuine fear, which I don't think is paranoia that I'll pass the trial period and at a later date be found incapable.

Yes, there is an axe to grind. I've highlighted serious failings within the organisation. I've made it very uncomfortable for a number of senior staff. Although nothing will be done about them, it has made me unwelcome. It's not whistleblowing.

BubblesBuddy Fri 20-Oct-17 17:45:34

Of course there will be differences in the roles. Your current role is redundant! It is no more.

I have changed roles in my organisation and there have been substantial differences but that's the nature of redeployment. I think you will have to give up something - your new job or your redundancy pay. You shouldn't factor in redundancy pay into your budget because you are now causing yourself stress due to needing it. Many of us never see a penny of it during our working lives. I would take the new job elsewhere and move on. You are not going to be happy staying and I think you want the money as compensation for the way they have treated you but life doesn't work like that. The compensation is the better paid job but the strings attached are that it's the same company. Just refuse the job and start the new one.

SierraFerrara Fri 20-Oct-17 19:51:35

The redundancy really isn't that simple BubblesBuddy. Honestly it isn't.

But regards the proposed job. The proposed job has to be a suitable alternative. It doesn't have to be the same but they need to consider pay, responsibilites, conditions, skills etc and how they compare to my old job. If I was a full time hairdresser they couldn't say a job as a part time accountant was a suitable alternative.

Or maybe a better example: If my job description says I'm a trainee geography teacher but actually, as it happens I spend most of my time teaching maths (because, as we all know, jobs evolve and change from their JDs) they can't then say a suitable alternative role is head of geography surely?

This isn't about compensation.

BakedBeans47 Fri 20-Oct-17 21:37:08

It’s not just about whether the role is suitable it’s about if it is, whether it would be reasonable or not for you to refuse.

Take a look at this

://www.harpermacleod.co.uk/hm-insights/2013/october/when-should-a-refusal-be-viewed-as-unreasonable/

BakedBeans47 Fri 20-Oct-17 21:37:50

www.harpermacleod.co.uk/hm-insights/2013/october/when-should-a-refusal-be-viewed-as-unreasonable/

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