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Can they change my job title without a new contract?(3 Posts)
I’ll try to keep this somewhere between too long and not detailed enough!
I’ve been in my job just under two years. I work in marketing. My old manager left in the summer and, since he was replaced, two of the functions within the department have been given distinct reporting lines. Because I’m the only person who does my job, I work across both functions.
Someone who does a different job in the team at the same level has been given a management title (and a pay rise to go with it). I have argued that my position should be treated in the same way. I’ve been told ‘Not yet’ rather than No’, but it’s still a bit of a kick.
However, my new manager has now said she wants to change my job title anyway to ‘More accurately reflect my responsibilities’. Let’s say my current title covers both internal and external comms. Because I report to her and she manages external comms, she wants to specify that in my job title. I said I didn’t want that as, as far as I understood it, I’d still be working across both. She says I will, but ‘Internal is Jane’s responsibility now; she’ll probably take more of your work on on that side’. I argued that it was a) unlikely as my job is very specialist and b) a big change to my role. I’m being reassured I’ll still be needed, but that my job title should relate to the team I’m in.
I’ve been offered two job titles. One is frankly an insult. The other isn’t what I want, but is at least accurate. I’ve said that, if I have to have a new title, the second is the lesser of two evils. I have put in writing that I am unhappy about it.
However, it has occurred to me that, if they’re changing my job title, they should be changing my contract too. I have a contract for Job A, not Job B. Can I demand a new contract - and legitimately refuse to sign it? None of my other terms (salary, working hours etc.) are changing.
IMO the issue is more about your role changing - the title is irrelevant somewhat- if your role is changing more than 30% then you could ask for your Job to be regraded and then reflected in your contract. If it's been downgraded then thats another story and someone with more HR experience will advise. I have several people in one of my teams who all have the same job description but who do a different proportions of the responsibilities but are paid the same
I can completely understand your frustration but unfortunately as you have been there less than 2 years you don't really have grounds to be 'demanding' anything, as effectively they can dismiss you for any reason at any time (doesn't have to be a fair reason or follow a fair process, so long as it isn't discriminatory) - so if they decide they want to give 'Jane' half your job that might be an unwise business decision but wouldn't really mean they are obliged to do anything for you in return- it might be technically making your role redundant if it means your role is substantially different to what it originally was, but as you currently aren't entitled to any redundancy compensation that doesn't really help you. Even once you go over 2 years service statutory redundancy is only 2 weeks pay so a pittance really (unless your contract entitles you to more). Also, re promotions, it is an employer's prerogative to decide to promote whomever they like (again providing it is not discriminatory on the grounds of a protected characteristic, so it's not OK to say men will be promoted over women or white people over black people, but fine to say they prefer Jane because she has XYZ experience over you with ABC experience, even if that's a stupid choice and you are clearly the better suited to the role), they are not obliged to open up opportunities to everyone to have a fair chance to apply or treat all roles equally - most employers do choose to have some kind of fair/open process of course but they are not obliged to do so. So effectively they ave you over a barrel I'm afraid, if they decide they want you to be called 'Chief Mugwump' as of tomorrow and will sack you if you don't accept, you'd be unlikely to have much comeback. Sorry if that is bad news...
Also, re changes to your contract, it is legally fine and indeed normal to change one aspect of a contract, e.g. a new job title, without reissuing the whole contract, or having to renegotiate every other term, if you agree to the change (and as above you don't have a lot of choice in the matter!). It would be a good approach to write an 'amendment to terms and conditions' letter to you setting out what the change is and reiterating that other T&Cs haven't changed, and for you to sign and return to indicate your acceptance, but it's not essential. By continuing to work there using the new title you will indicate your acceptance whether or not you sign anything - even if they write to you and you refuse to sign, if you start using the new title and don't formally complain or resign in response that is a deemed acceptance. Of course it is open to you to renegotiate anything you are not happy about with your employer at any point so if you think you are underpaid then certainly raise it - but I would focus on the value of your specialist role/skills to them and reasonable market pay for someone of your expertise rather than arguing about the job title as that sounds as though it won't be a fruitful avenue to me.
Hope you sort it out, certainly doesn't sound like a happy place to work right now to me....
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