Forced into New Role Without Trial Period

We are under consultation at the moment. We have been told that those who are retained will be put straight into a new role after the consultation with no trial period; essentially agree to it or resign.

When this was questioned the answer was:

'there will not be a 4 week trial period as this is a matched job'.

Is that legal? Does the term 'matched job' have some legal significance?

My understanding was that the trial period was a statutory right. As far as I can tell, rather than enter into the 'suitable vs unsuitable' alternative debate they are trying to pretend that this is not a change at all. Is there any precedent for that?

Thanks.
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  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    You need to raise the issue that if you disagree the job is a suitable alternative and they have not engaged in meaningful consultations like discuss any potential suitable alternatives what will they do if a court agrees they were not suitable(if they fail to convince you it is suitable).
    What is the union doing about this?

    Do you want to Stay or Go these can need a different approach.
    Stay: engage and try to get the best on offer.
    Go: make them not want to keep you.

    If they payout is rubbish sometimes better to stay keep getting paid and just find a better job.
  • I have asked for it to be raised as a formal complaint/grievance.

    In 20 years in IT I have never been aware of a union which covers us. I might look into that for future positions but I don't expect a union to be involved in this one.

    My preference would be to leave with my full payment intact, not sure how to proceed on that but I'm mainly looking to fight back against dishonest/underhanded practice (if indeed that is the case).

    My original question is not so much on how to proceed, instead I need to know if their position has any legal credibility.
  • TigsteroonieTigsteroonie Forumite
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    My organisation uses "matched role" where the new role has 70% or more of the responsibilities of the old, and the number of new jobs of that role is the same as or more than the number of old jobs (so no need for redundancies).

    We do then provide the opportunity during consultation to disagree with the matching process ... I don't know if anybody ever has, as it then puts you at risk of redundancy instead.
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

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  • Thanks, both are interesting answers.

    Do we know if they are just 'common practice' or if they have any actual grounding in law? I can't see any reference to e.g: 60% match in the wording of the act.
  • edited 25 October 2018 at 7:50PM
    TigsteroonieTigsteroonie Forumite
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    edited 25 October 2018 at 7:50PM
    Dunno, sorry. Not an HR professional, just somebody who has to deal with the reorganised data in the background.

    eta. A quick google found this article (https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/legal-qa-redundancy-and-redeployment-what-is-a-suitable-alternative-role/) which suggests it's not actually a law but more an accepted employment practice (accepted by employment tribunals, that is).
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    :) Proud Parents to an Aut-some son :)
  • TigsteroonieTigsteroonie Forumite
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    Also found this on https://www.crunch.co.uk/knowledge/employment/your-employer-is-making-you-redundant-but-has-offered-you-another-job-must-you-accept-it/
    Your employer can’t force you to accept an offer of alternative employment. However, if you refuse such an offer unreasonably, you’ll forfeit your right to statutory redundancy payment as long as:

    -- The offer of the alternative employment was made before the end of the previous employment and you were given details of the new job

    --The new job starts on the termination of the old job or within four weeks of it

    --The job that’s offered has the same terms as the original contract, or if they differ, the job is still seen as suitable alternative employment.

    The onus is on the employer to show both your suitability for the job and that you’ve unreasonably refused the job. If your employer believes the alternative job is suitable, but you disagree, you may be able to claim for statutory redundancy pay and unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal after you’ve followed your company’s internal grievance process.
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    :) Proud Parents to an Aut-some son :)
  • Thanks again, both interesting articles.

    They do illustrate the point that I am looking at with phrases like:
    where there are some differences to the old position and its terms and conditions, you’re entitled to a four-week statutory trial period

    what I am trying to understand is if they have any legal basis to force the issue without the trial period ever taking place.

    Thanks again.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    I think the relevant stuff is in the employment act but may have been modified by case law.

    It's a while since I read it but in a potentially suitable alternative situation you effectively get 4 extra weeks to resign because it is not suitable.

    If it is suitable alternative it just become process.

    Many companies bypass this issue using the you must apply for jobs, if you do it is too late to invoke suitable alternative process.


    Best to raise all the reasons you think it may not be suitable as soon as you know what the job is.

    They should be telling you as part of the consultation and selection process.
  • Thanks to everyone for your help on this.
  • I have asked for it to be raised as a formal complaint/grievance.

    In 20 years in IT I have never been aware of a union which covers us. I might look into that for future positions but I don't expect a union to be involved in this one.

    My preference would be to leave with my full payment intact, not sure how to proceed on that but I'm mainly looking to fight back against dishonest/underhanded practice (if indeed that is the case).

    My original question is not so much on how to proceed, instead I need to know if their position has any legal credibility.
    44 years a union member, and there were IT people in our union the whole time. So toy couldn't have looked hard!

    There are two convoluted situations here, when they are actually different. The four week trial treated to positions which are not deemed suitable alternatives, but where the individual would rather stay in employment. So it could be that the wage or terms are a lot different, or the skill set different, for example.

    However, if the employer identifies a position as a suitable alternative, which appears to be the case here, there is no right to a trial period. That's rights - some employers might allow one but it's discretionary. You are obliged to take the suitable alternative identified, and if you decide that it isn't suitable then you must resign and fight the case in a tribunal. That is a very risky strategy these days as the tribunals have established quite wide ranging latitude on what a suitable alternative could be, and it does include jobs that may have lesser terms of wages. Basically, the employer determines the definition, and if you don't agree, you must take it to law whilst having no job because you had to quit.

    It's not something I'd recommend unless you are certain you can win a case.
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