News and Events

Unilateral Variations of Contract

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The EAT has handed down a decision reaffirming the options an employee has when an empoyer seeks to foist a unilateral variation of contract on him. The four choices (para. 20) are:-

  • acquiescing in the variation;
  • resign and claim constructive dismissal;
  • refuse to work under the new terms, and force the employer to take what steps it thinks appropriate; or,
  • stand and sue, by working under protest and seeking damages (either for breach, or for unfair dismissal).

In this case, the employee agreed to the changes 'under protest' but then refused to work under the new terms. The EAT held that the decision to dismiss him was fair as, having agreed (alebit under protest), he could not renege on his agreement - therefore he was refusing to obey lawful and reasonable instructions.

Robinson v Tescom Corporation