There is clearly a lot of uncertainty across all business sectors as a result of the unexpected referendum result for the UK to leave the European Union. This will have impacts across all aspects of our lives, not least our jobs.
In the question asked, a key issue is whether the job offer has been backed up by a written offer? Under employment law, if the offer has just been verbal and no written contract has been signed then there is unlikely to be much you can do, other than ask the employer to review their decision.
Legally, provided you have not resigned on the back of the verbal offer, there is no real challenge you can make – other than tell everyone you meet how unreliable this person or organisation is!
Another important aspect would surround the proposed changes: is the role different or is there a significant drop in pay? Has the location been changed; so instead of working in London the role is based in Bournemouth? If the role has changed you need to ask why, and how the Brexit decision has affected this role; if the pay has changed you also need to know why.
One explanation could be that the manager who made you the verbal offer was not authorised to do so – this happens a lot; even in seemingly large, sophisticated organisations. It is unlikely that a manager will tell you that he or she screwed up. Perhaps there is a genuine reason for the changes?
The situation is more complicated if you have resigned from your current role on the back of the verbal offer.
In this case, it would be best to seek help from an employment lawyer quickly, as legally you may be able to make a claim if the situation cannot be resolved. It may be impossible to ask for your old job back, and therefore you have a real tangible loss as a result of the change in offer. In law, an important test is whether you have suffered a genuine loss. Technically an employment contract does not become effective until you actually arrive on day one – this is why employers are always concerned until the person actually turns up for work!
Overall, this situation is unsatisfactory. If you really want to work for this firm, despite this problem, then do seek an explanation and try to negotiate back to the previous position. However, if your confidence in the new employer is damaged, your best move may be just to walk away.
You never know, they may come running after you and make an even better offer.
• Andrew Pullman, managing director at People Risk Solutions