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Redundancy without consultation?

Hi everyone, 

I work in a language school which has a few campuses around England, I do HR just for my school. (this is relevant to my problem)

We have a member of staff who was originally a Director of Studies (in charge of teachers and student progression). She decided to step back from this role as it was to demanding for her, and was moved to an EFL development role (still a management position) She was then asked to take on a secondment role for one of our summer camps, and then when the secondment ended, was told that her previous Student Development role no longer existed, the Principal is adamant he advised her of this before she took the secondment and said they would have to discuss a new role when she returned, but she claims he never did this. There is nothing in writing and this was before I started in my HR job so it is his word against hers, we have previously been without anyone in HR for around a year which is why it wasn't done properly at the time. Since she has returned she has now been advised that she will be working in a standard teachers role, it took around 3 months from when the summer secondment ended and for it to be confirmed that she would be staying as a standard teacher, until then she was working as a standard teacher but wasn't sure if she would be given a management role again. She is very upset that it took so long for her to be told what is happening and she wasn't kept informed during the process. 

My understanding is that this is essentially redundancy,  but she has had absolutely no consultation period. Management didn't keep me in the loop of any of this so I wasn't aware it was happening, I was only advised by the teacher once it was over and she was upset. 

She has said that she doesn't want to take this formally at the moment but may need to. I think she just wants an apology for the way it was handled and reassurance that her salary is safe - she is still being paid the same as she was when she had the student development role, so is paid significantly higher than all of the other teachers, which I think is why the principal thought he was OK in doing it this way, as he though he was doing her a favour. I think she is also worried that she may be asked to do jobs that aren't part of her job description and they will use the higher pay as a reason for her to do it. 

I was just hoping for a bit of advice in case this escalates and she does take it formally, it definitively hasn't been handled correctly, but I would hope if I can get a signed letter from the Principal confirming that her current salary is safe I may be able to contain it, does this seem like a good idea or is there a better solution? 

I have only been  in post for about 3 months and i am brand new to HR, I am also the only HR person in our school so I'm really unsure on how to handle this. 

As I mentioned she has said she would like to keep in informal, she is going to write a letter to the principal and director explaining that she wants reassurance and clarification on her future - she will be required for the Summer role again this year and is very happy to do it.

If anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it. 

Thanks

Tilly 

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  • It looks like she is in a hybrid role. Part of the year doing a leadership role (Summer School) and part of the year doing a lower level Teaching role. If this is the case then I would be encouraging the Management in what ever form to be sitting down with her and agreeing this and what ever T&Cs (remaining or whatever) are appropriate for this role. If she is happy with this then all well an good. If she isn't then it gets a little messy but it is probably redundancy (given there is not 12 months of leadership work) but does she or anyone else want to go down this route?

    BTW if she is being paid on a leadership scale then its probably reasonable to ask her from time to time to do tasks associated with that scale.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thanks Keith, the Summer role isn't really a leadership role, but it would be fare to call it management so I think your advice still applies. A Hybrid role sounds correct and I feel like that distinction would help her. She has essentially had 4 roles in the past 18 months Director of studies, then EFL development (leadership roles) and then Summer (management) and teacher. so this would be a Hybrid between the Summer and Teacher role but on the Leadership Salary (I would be thrilled with this)
    I will speak with management and suggest they sit down with her to confirm everyone's expectations moving forward and to get something in writing.

    Thanks for your advice