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An employer in the United Kingdom repeatedly tried contacting an employee while such employee was on leave, with no avail. The employer was then informed by their human resources department that this employee was not required to respond to calls while on such leave. After learning this, the employer attempted to unilaterally change employment contracts to vary hours of work, compensation/overtime structure, and employee’s on-call availability while they were on leave or vacation. The employer argued that such amendments to the employment contract meant that an employee’s failure to provide on-call duties was sufficient grounds for the employee’s dismissal. However, the commission dealing with the wrongful dismissal claim raised by the employee, agreed with the employee and stated that “Employees are entitled to annual leave without interruption.”

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Take away:

  • Employment agreements cannot be changed unilaterally. It is essential to ensure that all amendments made to an employment agreement are in writing and executed by all parties.

 

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