Do variation clauses in a contract of employment give an employer a unilateral right to make reasonable changes that go to the root of the employment terms, e.g. relocation and redundancy terms?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 6 June 2016
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

If there is an express provision for the employer to change certain terms within the employment contract, it is likely that the employer would be permitted to change a particular term provided that the employer does not act in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner. Even where an express provision exits, an employer should still consult widely with the affected employees prior to making the change. It should also be noted that any variation clause is likely to be interpreted strictly by the courts. The employer does not simply have free rein to make any changes to the employment contract it desires. Any ambiguity will also be interpreted in favour of the employee.

If there is no express

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 06/06/2016

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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