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Some clarity on employment law and verbal agreement


Established Member
Hello all

Have a quick question regarding employment law.
If a verbal agreement has been made to an employee with HR and the acting head of a dept 6 months ago, wth regards to contracted hrs, does this constitute a verbal contract?
Situation at present is the HR person involved are no longer preent at the council, the acting head head now reports to the newly appointed head. The then acting head and new HR person are saying as nothing was formally signed, they do not have to honour that agreement. Is this right?
I believe the employee has an email with corespondence from the old HR person confirming this.


a verbal agreement is legally binding, but your problem is proving the agreement if you had to formally dispute it. if you have some evidence of them not agreeing to it because it wasn't in writing, that may be a help. (ie. if they wrote to you to say they won't honor X because it wasn't agreed in writing). that is depending on what exactly it says

if you have already been working changed hours and have a payslip to reflect it, that may be helpful.

i'd suggest you give ACAS a ring as they can advise better


Distinguished Member
If its not been signed or recorded by media (ie dictaphone, phone call etc with all parties acknowledging the conversations is being recorded) and an existing signed contract stating different hours is in place, then they can force you to revert to the existing signed contracts stipulations. Any company can agree unrecorded to change things, but if its not been officially recorded then it holds no water if someone else comes in and says things are going back to the way the legally bound contract states. Having medical problems that affect my working conditions, this is something I have had to be very aware of. Whenever something changes I make sure its put in writing and signed by my line manager and the head of the department and a senior member of HR.

You can try and fight, but chances are not a lot will happen, you can call witnesses if you want to take it to the courts which may swing your way, but the company will still say you have to change your working hours or they will find a way to make you redundant.


Prominent Member
Yes they can do that as your agreement was outside of your contract and is only bound to the poeple who made the verbal agreement to you.
What you really needed to do was get your work contract changed or amended to reflect a binding agreement of new terms of employment. you really need something written down or recorded otherwise the original terms of employment will be binding and any change you agreed before was outside of your contract so can also be deemed not permenent/ a favour etc.

Always get a verbal agreement even if its your best friend down in writing when it comes to business and work.

Also your employer will be the 'council' as stated in your contract not the head of HR etc, So as far as your employer (XX council) is concerned no new terms were agreed which is why they wont honour any verbal agreement made.

HR should of made a note of any change in your employment file. worth checking and worth putting some pressure on.
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