Employers failure to give employee correct duties was a breach of contract
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August 25, 2010
In Khan v The Village Cuisine, Mr Khan was employed as a chef with the job
title of Executive Chef and his job description stated this role was a
senior position where the employee was expected to be responsible for the
preparation of food and design of menus. However, Mr Khan found himself
single-handedly running a fast food outlet where he did not actually do any
cooking and because he worked alone he could not take the rest breaks to
which he was legally entitled. The employee submitted a grievance. The
employer invited him to a grievance hearing, but the employee did not attend
as he had been previously threatened by grievance officer. The employer
began disciplinary procedures, but the employee resigned.
Mr Khan made an
employment tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal on the basis he
had been dismissed for asserting his statutory rights to rest breaks and for
making a protected disclosure, although he had not got 12 months’ service.
The employment tribunal found that the employer’s failure to allow the
employee to carry out his duties as a chef was a fundamental breach of
contract. As the employee had asserted his statutory rights in his
grievance letter, this constituted a protection disclosure, so his dismissal
was automatically unfair.
Employers can make changes to an employee’s duties, but need to take care
that those changes are not significantly different from the employee’s job
description. Lawson-West recommend regular reviews of employees’ job
descriptions to ensure they still relate to the job the employee is doing,
as incremental changes can accumulate over a period of time.
If business needs mean that an employer needs an employee to do different
duties, the employer should consult the employee and seek agreement. A
written record of consultations should be kept along with the employee’s
agreement to the changes.
About the Author
Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team
of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business,
business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property.
Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all
aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and
dismissal procedures. Visit
www.lawson-west.co.uk for more information.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-09-11 14:04:51 in Legal Articles