Many of us accept a certain job with a suitable job description, which works two ways. You know exactly what is expected from you and your boss knows on the points to appraise you. But what happens when your manager just changes it? Is it acceptable for an employer to change a job description after a person has been hired? When can an employer change your job responsibilities?
Employers have a right
In many cases, employers do have the right to change your job description in order to meet the needs of their organization, but under certain conditions. Read on and find out what you can encounter and the ways out of this. An example from the western world and then some more specific to the USA.
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The company where Joe (33) has been working for a few years now, makes less turnover, which forced a number of colleagues to be fired. Joe is really happy that he can continue to work at the company, but his boss now wants him to perform other tasks. Because of the dismissal of his colleagues, there are now tasks unperformed. Joe finds himself in a dilemma: the thinks that the tasks he has performed are far better for him than the ones that his boss wants to give him. But is Joe in a position to refuse?
A change in your position can be seen as a change in employment conditions. This usually means that an employer asks an employee to perform another job at a different salary. However, an employer cannot simply do that.
An employer can request the employee’s consent to change the employment contract. Among other things, it is important that a reasonable time-out has been observed. If both the employee and the employer agree that the position is being adjusted, there is no cause for a problem. The problems come when one of the two parties wants to see a change, while the other wants it to remain as it is.
In practice it happens that an employee is asked to do, temporarily or otherwise, work other than what he was hired for. For this reason, employment contracts often stipulate that the employee must also perform all occurring and / or reasonably assignable work. Earlier court rulings have shown that an employee cannot simply reject the employer ‘s reasonable proposal. I think this is normal and everybody should see the challenge in that.
Why the change?
When a job description is going to be changed, it is first of all important to know why an employer wants to change that job. Maybe he just expects that the employee will be relocated to other suitable work where possible. It is also possible that an employee has to stop work because he is not functioning properly. In the event of malfunctioning, the employee must first be informed of this and be given sufficient time and opportunity to improve the work.
In other cases it can be assumed that the employee’s consent is required to change an agreed job. An employee must, however, be flexible in this and accept reasonable proposals from the employer. In some cases, the employer can adjust the position to some extent without the employee’s permission. In that case it cannot be deduced from the employment contract or collective agreement what the position, activities, working hours and place of work of the employee are. It is also possible that the employment contract entails that the employer may determine or change these subjects. This power to unilaterally adjust the employment contract does, of course, have its limits too.
The question for Joe is whether his boss makes a reasonable proposal to him. Whether a proposal is reasonable depends on all the circumstances of the case. With a job change, the new job must be at a level that is comparable to the original job.
Joe can now look for the best way to include his position in his employment contract. Is his position very clearly defined there? If the employer wants to change the working time, workplace and activities, the employer can do this. He must, however, act reasonably and observe the limits of the law, collective agreements and employment contract. However, the employer may not change the activities in such a way that this actually changes the agreed position. The work to be changed must match the position.
Is it about work that really does not fall under Joe’s position, or does the employer propose to adjust other things such as wages or expense allowance? That just can’t be without the employee’s consent.
Situation in the USA
In most states, employees are considered to be hired at will meaning that their employment is voluntary and they can quit whenever they want. It also means that their employer can change their job or lay them off or reduce salary as they see fit. However, state laws do vary so check with your state department of labor for information on the law in your location.
Employers cannot transfer staff to another job in order to discourage an employee from taking a leave. In addition, workers are guaranteed access to a substantially equivalent job upon their return to the workplace after completing a leave.
Aside from these legal considerations, best Human Resource Management practices suggest that employers should seek employee agreement before making major changes in work roles and should redraft job descriptions to make the new role clear. Generally, morale and productivity are enhanced if workers approve their new job description.
If you are concerned about your job responsibilities being changed, it’s a good idea to see if you can discuss the situation with your manager or your company’s HR department to see if there is a way you can work out a solution that is agreeable to both yourself and your employer.
Other ways out
Some contracts are neither in writing nor stated explicitly, but are instead implied from all of the circumstances. For example, if the employee handbook sets out a pay schedule and states that employees may be fired only for a specified list of reasons, that could create an implied contract. An employer that deviates from the promises in its rules and policies may be legally liable.
For example, even at-will employees are protected from retaliation for reporting discrimination, harassment, unsafe working conditions, and so on. If you complained of sexual harassment, and your employer responded by demoting you, that would not be legal. Even though your employer has the right to demote you generally, he does not have the right to demote you for illegal reasons.
Last resort: getting legal help
As you can see, even at-will employees have certain rights, including the right not to be subjected to illegal working conditions. If your employer disciplines, fires, or takes other negative actions against you because you have exercised a legal right or refused to do something illegal, you should consider a consultation with an employment attorney.
But there is another way out of this, which I am giving below!
If you have an employment contract that limits the reasons for which you can be fired or sets the terms of your employment, your employer must abide by the agreement. The contract is a legal agreement that both you and the employer have to honor; to change its terms, you have to negotiate a new agreement.
Employed at will
If you’re employed at will, your employer doesn’t just have the right to fire you without notice or cause. He can also modify the terms and conditions of your employment without notice or cause. Of course, you are free to quit and look for other work if you don’t like these changes. But your employer is free to make them without running afoul of the law, unless the employee is acting for illegal reasons.
Becoming your own boss
But what if you do not like change at all? You are perfectly ok with your current job and have the greatest fun. Then you want to go to a situation that this can never happen. In such a case, why you do not become your own boss? Use the internet and work from home. There is now a way for everybody to do so through the internet. For example, you can become an affiliate marketer with the right help and support program. I am explaining how this works here and simultaneously will be reviewing the world’s best scam free program there is. See you there.