As part of a restructuring programme, is it possible to reduce an employee’s responsibilities and status (i.e. lower grade job title) while leaving their base pay unchanged? Could this be viewed as a demotion?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 5 March 2013
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

Given the reduction in responsibilities and change to a lower job title, this could be viewed as a demotion. However, much will depend on whether the employer has an express contractual right to change or vary responsibilities or grade/title. If so, then the employer may rely on this contractual entitlement to change the employee’s position, providing that such a change is justifiable and reasonable in the circumstances.

Absent such a contractual provision, then any attempt to impose such changes unilaterally without the employee’s agreement or acquiescence will put the employer at risk of a claim of breach of contract or constructive (unfair) dismissal proceedings. While the employee’s

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email

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