This is a Premium feature
Change to contract - now disciplinary(4 Posts)
Due to COVID the company I work for sought to change the terms of our contracts stating that we could be laid off at no cost to the employer at any time deemed necessary but as we would be under contract could not take on further work. Something I disagree with.
The contract amendments were sent to us - but as I don't access my emails apart from to read my rota, I didnt notice I had an email but it was in my spam folder. So didnt sign it. However I am also aware that if you work, you have more or less agreed the terms [even if i didn't] As i missed my email trail, my boss mentioned it in passing one day when i ducked into the office - I asked there and then if i had to sign it and could i sign it right now as I was free. I was told - do it later. and due to my job, life and crapness forgot.
I have now been told I will be given a verbal warning for failure to sign.
Can they do this?
I have absolutely no expertise in this area, but I didn’t want to leave your message unanswered, because it’s important. So if someone more qualified than I am offers advice, take that instead.
They cannot force you to agree to a change in the contract, and they cannot take disciplinary action against you for not signing to agree to a change. A few years ago my company asked everyone to sign an amendment to say we would not work for their competitors within six months of leaving the company. I, and a couple of others I know of, did not sign to agree – who else are you going to work for if not someone in the same line of business ?! – and we’ve carried on working under our existing contracts just as we were before.
If they really can’t employ you on your old contract, I believe there is a procedure where they can terminate your employment under the old contract and offer you employment under the new contract. However, I don’t think they could prove that was reasonable in this case.
It's a moot point - other than an internal appeal, there is no right to appeal a disciplinary less than dismissal. So yes they can do it, and more importantly, there's almost nothing you can do about it.
As for the change, they consulted, you said you didn't agree, they did it anyway and you know, so all the rest is also moot - by not taking your objection further then you have, as you say, agreed by inaction. I'm not convinced that the contract would itself be considered fair in law, as it prevents you getting paid and working elsewhere, but that would be a matter for a tribunal to determine, and the exact wording and circumstances would have to be examined.
Sounds like the clause withdrew be unenforceable. So sign away, safe in the knowledge that you could go and work for their most feared competitor the day after your employment ended and there's really very little they could do about it, they'd be laughed out of court.