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Topic # 150893 6-Aug-2014 21:19
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OK, so a friend of mine has been working at a company for about 3 years. He was a systems admin/infrastructure guy forever before that and the company he is working for now is trying to change the job description to make him work in more of an infrastructure / support role to leverage his past experience. He is not happy about this and will probably refuse as his current role is not IS related intentionally and he stated when he started that he wanted to get out of that career line.

So far he has been really sturdy in his stance and there is a big wig meeting coming up where he suspects he will be given an 'either-or' condition or ultimatum.

His current role is 40hours and is mostly busy.

He has constantly won awards and praises for excellent service and exceeding expectations etc. despite this current role and career line being new to him - he has and continues to save the company big money and time where he is now. It is widely accepted that if he leaves his current role, the department will descend into widespread chaos and possibly a revolt will break out. No kidding, he is a nice guy who gets everything done.

What are his rights? Can he refuse a job change, I mean legally, and practically, is this possible and is it a wise move?

He asks this because he is not a 'people person' and will probably look like he is being obstinate in this upcoming meeting, any advice - how to deal with this forced move, can the move be refused etc.?

Thanks for your help/suggestions.

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  Reply # 1103673 6-Aug-2014 21:36
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A few thoughts in no particular order.

It does depend on his contract but generally if they say that his current position is no longer required and they offer him a position which has the same or better terms and conditions then he will possibly be giving up his right to redundancy. He doesn't have to take the new position but if they say his current role is no longer needed then he could well be in a very difficult position.

IANAL but I have a staff member we put through a very similar process. It was very tricky but we got there.

He would be best to get professional advice - for a couple of hundred dollars he can get his contract reviewed by a lawyer and get some very specific advice.

Also he is entitled to have a support person come to a restructuring meeting. If he is not a person who can express himself in these situations it would be worthwhile to do so. It would be worth him explaining this to his manager prior.

No matter what pressure is out on him he should not agree to, or sign anything he is not 100% happy with.

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  Reply # 1103685 6-Aug-2014 21:37
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If he is concerned he should ask an employment lawyer.

However, if he has an existing employment contract he should read it carefully, it may have provisions for alterations of employment contract.

Generally as "You must or else" can be considered unfair dismissal.

However I would suggest the boss, if he is any good, would know his worth and would not go there with an ultimatum.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1103690 6-Aug-2014 21:51
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I'll put up a third vote for seeking professional advice. Employment law can be a bit of a minefield - only someone who knows what they're doing and who can thoroughly review his employment contract can give him the best advice. The support person Handle9 mentions is a must too.

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  Reply # 1103693 6-Aug-2014 22:03
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Would be a good idea to go to the meeting with an open mind listen to the options - ultimately the company could just disestablish the current position.

It's always a good idea to take in a list of questions especially if you're not a people person.

It's also often helpful for the employer if you can explain your career aspirations that way they'll have a better understanding of the resistance to the new role.

Good people are had to find and I think with some open discussion there can be a win for both parties. 

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  Reply # 1103695 6-Aug-2014 22:13
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Can I just add too that the support person is a great idea in a disciplinary meeting but unless there is a letter from the company outlining the meeting then there is no such process underway they also must consult if planning a restructure and would formally invite you to a meeting.

It's possible to get blindsided at the forthcoming meeting but consulting employment lawyers at this point may be a bit premature.

If the ultimate goal is to have a long term relationship with this company then talk to them, listen and offer alternatives.

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  Reply # 1103696 6-Aug-2014 22:14
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If he has expressed his concerns about the proposed change moving away from his new career direction and therefore he will reconsider the position then perhaps the scheduled meeting will offer him a package to take on something in this area in a way acceptable to him. If he has not clearly communicated this they could be anywhere and all over the place with the thinking. Or nothing at all could happen.

This situation could potentially persist for a long time with no changes but dissatisfaction. Stating the position could help move things along.

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  Reply # 1103703 6-Aug-2014 22:31
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IANAL either but my experience of this situation has been:

 

     

  1. If the position description changes by more than 20% then it is considered a new position.  Redundancy may apply.
  2. If the company offer a new job that is within the scope of the employee (skill level, ability etc) and the employee is not disadvantaged (same or better conditions, pay etc) and the employee elects to decline the new position then any redundancy from the disestablished position may be at risk
  3. If the new job is a disadvantage (e.g. lower pay, different location, lower level) then the employee has the right to decline without effecting any redundancy.

 


This seems to be the standard operating procedure in 3 large companies I have been involved with.  

Read the contract, take notes of any meetings, clarify everything, get a support person/lawyer, and get independent legal advise before agreeing to anything.


 




Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman



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  Reply # 1103709 6-Aug-2014 22:39
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^affecting. effecting.

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  Reply # 1103775 7-Aug-2014 06:42
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As this involves someone's livelyhood a web forum no matter how good is not the appropriate place to seek advice. They should talk to a professional.




Mike
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  Reply # 1103988 7-Aug-2014 12:34
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nitrotech:
If the ultimate goal is to have a long term relationship with this company then talk to them, listen and offer alternatives.


Agree... my opinion (IANAL) is that if you have to rely on what's in your employment contract, you're working for the wrong company or manager, and it's time to look for a new job. IMHO a good employer sorts this stuff out long before it gets to the scenario described. And do you want to work for a bad employer?

I'm not saying don't get a lawyer or don't fight it, but make sure you have an exit plan.




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  Reply # 1104281 7-Aug-2014 18:11
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Thanks KiwiNZ for your valid concerns, the friend wanted an opinion from people in the trade and as IT professionals (most of us) it would be common to have new roles or assignments as technology changes and life stumbles along.

The message that has been taken away is to try to see change as positive or representative of future opportunities but be prepared.

Thanks to all that posted.

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  Reply # 1104292 7-Aug-2014 18:39
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Not IT but my job before was changed and readvertised.  What else could I do ... I just took redundancy with the union.  And it was a 12 months fixed term, 3 months in was told head office was gonna be restructured and 6 months I was out. 

You cannot stop them restructuring.  They follow the process seek your feedback etc. 

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