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Employers failure to give employee correct duties was a breach of contract


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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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 for more information.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-09-11 14:04:51 in Legal Articles

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