Stabbed in the back? Ask the expert

When I first started my job back in June as an administrator, I was contracted for 16 hours a week Monday – Thursday. As I was doing a little bit extra to keep up with paperwork, all off my own back, the manager offered me a 20-hour working week, which I accepted. After about 6-8 weeks, I was told they couldn’t afford to pay me for the extra 4 hrs a week and so my hours went back to 16. But now within the last week a volunteer has been offered a post as a paid part-time Tutor/Administrator, although I was told time and time again that the company couldn’t afford to give me the extra 4 hours back. I feel as if I’ve been stabbed in the back. Do I have any rights regarding this?

I understand from your query that your employer decreased your hours due to financial constraints. It is not clear from your query whether you agreed to the decrease or when the decrease happened. If you agreed to your hours being decreased or you have worked for some time on the reduced hours without complaint then the company has validly decreased your hours. If however, you did not agree to the decrease and have objected, then you may have a claim for unpaid wages for the four hours you have lost each week. You could also resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal due to your employer breaching your contract of employment. Before resigning and bringing these claims I would advise submitting a written grievance and see whether this helps to sort the situation out to your satisfaction.

You also say that another person has been offered a job which you think is unfair because the company keep telling you they cannot afford to pay you the extra hours. It seems that their job is slightly different to yours because it involves being a Tutor as well as an Administrator. The company may need someone different to do this job, but you could ask your employer why you were not considered. You could raise this as part of your written grievance.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this answer, WorkingMums cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.

Comments [1]

  • says:

    I posted this item last year,and have recently found out that the person they took on is not only an untrained tutor, like myself, but has now been offered the post full time. In answer to your question about whether I agreed to the reduced hours, I had no choice. I also have a criminal conviction, so I’m wondering if I’m being discriminated in that sense too. I like where I work, but feel I may have to move on, and with my record I’m not going to get far! I don’t know what to do.

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