Told "new" role is not suitable alternative for me

Hello, everyone. This is my first time (although I've visited the site before). I need some advice or least objective opinions. Been working full-time and permanently for almost 3 1/2 years. I was told last week that my role is being deleted following a sudden restructure and therefore I'm at risk of being made redundant. There is a "new" role at my level (manager), reporting to the same person I do now, same hours, same place, same team, and same salary scale (I am earning at the very top of the new role's scale). New contracts were introduced only last year so I doubt the employment terms of the new role will be different. A pack on the restructure with job specs of the new roles were sent last week and I had my consultation call with the CEO today. The new role is so similar to my current role that my first impression was that this is not a true redundancy. I can't give away too much: all I can say is that I manage a programme, that programme still exists, in fact it got busier during Covid-19 and they want to expand the programme. However, this expansion were discussed long before Covid hit and is nothing new. Many of the responsibilities are things I've already begun to do, an almost natural evolution of the role if Covid didn't happen. I can provide evidence from emails and my work.

I also meet the person specification exactly, including the desirable qualities. I was therefore hopeful that the consultation is just procedural (because my junior colleague's role is disappearing completely and I thought that they would want to consult both of us- there are only us two and our manager in the team), and I heard that sometimes more are consulted than made redundant. I was especially hopeful, thinking that the "new" role (even if not actually new) will be deemed a suitable alternative. I was going to express my interest in it, in spite of me feeling it is not a true redundancy. However, today the CEO told me that this new role is not deemed a suitable alternative. I'm gobsmacked. I asked for their reasons, but the CEO refused to state why they think the role is not a suitable alternative. The HR rep (works for the organisation as a consultant, so we've no internal HR) then spoke for the first time to tell me I should state my reasons by email for why I think the role is a suitable alternative (I can do this easily), before they will state why they think it is unsuitable. The job spec is still in draft and nothing stops them from putting something that I won't meet after seeing my arguments for suitability. They might still interview me if I express and interest, but I think they will not give it to me, arguing it wasn't a suitable alternative in the first place. 

My line of thinking is to raise a grievance arguing that 1) this new role is in fact my role that is simply naturally evolving (and the there are the same responsibilities) and 2) they cannot claim the new role is not a suitable alternative, stating why I think that it's suitable. Any thoughts? I appreciate this! 
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Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,929 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I would agree a grievance is the right way to go. I don't think that your argument that the new role is an evolution of your old role is particularly relevant, but you should definitely mention the degree to which you meet the person specification, i.e. 100%!

    You should state why you think the new role is a suitable alternative, but I think I would also state that your grievance is that the role is clearly a suitable alternative because you meet the person specification, and that the employer is being unreasonable in not regarding it as such. Employers are under a duty to try to avoid redundancies if they can - they have a role, you can fill the role more than adequately, so they are being somewhat perverse in not offering it to you.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Emmia
    Emmia Posts: 3,144 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    If they've got 2 people (you, and the junior colleague) and 1 role which you'll be at the top end of the salary for, could they be making you redundant in favour of your (cheaper?) colleague?
  • Thank you very much, both of you. Emmia, that is possible but she isn't qualified nor does she  have the experience. It states as essential that you need to be numerate but I know she herself stated that she isn't good with numbers and she doesn't have the project management background that you clearly need (and that I have in bucket loads). 
    What bothers me the most is that they refuse to tell me upfront why they deem the role not to be suitable, while placing the onus on me to state why I am! Surely it should be the other way around? I've been searching high and low on this matter and can't find anything online on this specific matter. I appreciate any other comments! 
  • Is it possible that management have someone else lined up for the position? possibly doing a similar role but not anyone you normally interact with. It can be very surprising who ends up with jobs following redundancies - not necessarily the best person for the position.
  • I think you need to wait for the final job specification and then state why you believe you meet the criteria. On paper it seems that it is (same grade and location are the general ones and then responsibilities are on top). But yes, agree with your ideas on next steps.
  • MBJ487
    MBJ487 Posts: 6 Forumite
    First Post
    Thank you again to all who have commented. There have been a few new developments. Again, any ideas or comments are appreciated. I have spoken to a solicitor and ACAS in the meantime. I have expressed my interest in the new role AND submitted a very lengthy document arguing why the "new" role is an alternative to my role. My solicitor read that document too and called it "persuasive". I meet all the person specifications of the role and the new role is so similar. 

    However, they simply replied that the role is not similar, AND changed the job description after I expressed my interest, making it a new role. They've added two things to the person specification that I don't meet. I KNEW they would do this: they wanted me to share my arguments why I can do the "new" job first, so that they can change the new job in such a way that I don't meet one (just one) of the essential requirements. The new new job description is also in draft, so they will keep changing it until I am gone, and then maybe even go back to the original role. 

    Can they change the job descriptions, introducing new requirements, after I expressed an interest? I feel that I've been deceived from the start. What could have changed since a week ago in the business environment? I called ACAS and discussed this in detail and was told I can argue I was deceived and the councillor telling me to keep a paper trial as evidence. I was told the have a legal duty to consider alternatives, which they don't want to seem to do. The consultation period ends 9 October, and there is no time left for me to even try to express an interest and be interviewed before Thursday/Friday. I have also suggested part-time working and a reduced salary during the consultation. Last week my manager spoke of the interview, how he will interview me, and how he would structure the interview. Then I was told sorry, we've changed the role. Completely different role now. 

    Furthermore, I am still not convinced I am truly redundant. I manage a programme, that programme exists and is expanding. The way the programme is being managed is changing, but these proposed changes are not new and I have evidence that those discussions existed ever since 2018, while they argue it is due to Covid. I disagree that the way in which the programme is managed automatically makes me redundant, and adding new tasks that I am capable of also does not render me redundant as per the statutory definition of redundancy. The new role continues to report to my manager and remain in the same team. 

    I can't keep paying a solicitor for advice. I will now raise a formal grievance arguing that 1) unfair process with goalposts changing and 2) not sure if this a true redundancy, possibly 3) they are not adhering to the legal duty to prevent redundancy. I actually want to just go to ACAS to begin the first step towards a tribunal. Knowing how my employer works now, I think that a grievance will once again reveal my cards, and that they will then simply keep changing or even deleting the new proposed role, until I am out of sight for 3 months. 

    So stressful. My April performance review was my best ever, with no negative feedback and I was told what a collaborative colleague I was. There is a part of me that wants to accept and just leave, as I am not valued, but I also feel like fighting back. 


  • MBJ487
    MBJ487 Posts: 6 Forumite
    First Post
    UPDATE: I was told that the job description was changed after another colleague who is also facing redundancy (in a different role) suggested something which they think was a good idea, and included her idea in the new job description. Which makes me think that that colleague will get the role. I will be interviewed for the role too. So now I can't raise a grievance over this because I don't want to shoot myself in the foot before an interview. I think I know who the other colleague, she is a junior and don't have the same amount of experience and lacks some of the key attributes that I have. 
  • avawat20
    avawat20 Posts: 159 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    This is why you wait until AFTER consultation to express your interest - consultation is just that. Once consultation is over things are finalised. Alas, hindsight is a fine thing.
    Go for the job, do the best you can, keep your paper trails and be prepared to raise a grievance and then appeal that grievance if it is not upheld. Exhaust all internal options before you go to ACAS for early conciliation otherwise they will turn you away.
  • MBJ487
    MBJ487 Posts: 6 Forumite
    First Post
    Avawat20, thank you for the response. However, I had no choice! We were told to express our interest in draft job descriptions half way through the consultation or we won't be considered. I knew the JDs were all in draft and "subject to consultation" and that is why I didn't want to submit my arguments for the role being a suitable alternative, because I suspected that my employer will do what they have done. I have also now been told to state that I accept that the new role is new and is not suitable alternative with another deadline before my interview for the role. I will be interviewed next week for the role, and don't wish to submit a grievance but I am given little choice. They set the schedule with deadlines: it's like I am forced to show my hand before they show theirs all of the time. I have been speaking to ACAS and I am building quite a solid case that the process is unfair and also that they are unreasonable by stating that the job is not a suitable alternative. This is getting uglier by the day. I don't want to give away too much here but will report back - I think it may benefit others in the future, as there is very little on the net.  
  • avawat20
    avawat20 Posts: 159 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Ah interesting, adds to your case then. If you have some kind of Union I would get them involved. Very strange to be asking people to do that during consultation!
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