Am I being demoted?

We are having a restructure at work. I have not been put at risk because my job is still there. However, the job title has changed and my reporting line has also changed so that I am reporting to someone who will report to my current boss. I have asked for job descriptions which I have been advised are not available. What rights do I have? I’m not happy as not only does this feel like a demotion – I’m further away from the power, but also I am not at all happy with the potential new boss. We just don’t see eye to eye. I feel like they’re trying to get rid of me without paying redundancy.

It is not unusual for companies to amend job roles and titles as part of a restructure. However, if the changes made to a role are significant the original job role may be viewed as being redundant and the employee will be placed at risk of redundancy following which they will be subject to a redundancy procedure.

If the company do not view your role as being at risk of redundant, but they have changed your role, including the duties you carry out, the company are obliged to consult with you and give notice to you of any changes to your job role. If they fail to do this and have made fundamental changes to your role it can be argued that you have been unfairly dismissed from your existing contract to reinstate you on the new terms. As  you are still employed with the company it would be advisable to raise a formal grievance. The company should have a grievance procedure in place which may be referred to in your contract of employment. If the grievance procedure does not resolve your concerns and you feel you have been placed at a detriment by the changes made, one option is to resign and claim constructive dismissal. I would advise taking professional advice before doing this in order to assess the strength of your claim.

If the main change the company have made is to your job title and your reporting line but not any of your actual duties, it may be difficult to argue that they have breached your contract sufficiently to support a claim for constructive dismissal. If you have concerns regarding your new line manager you could raise this with an appropriate  senior manager or a member of the HR team who should discuss your concerns with you and offer support where appropriate.

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