You and the Law – 15th November 2011

Threat of the sack

My daughter has been working for a firm for 12 years.  She has a written contract, but they now want her to sign a new one.  She is refusing to do this but has been told she will be on three month notice if she fails to sign.  What is her position?  SK 

It depends whether the changes her firm is proposing are “reasonable” and whether it could convince an employment tribunal that they are necessary for the firmis survival.  If the changes are minor, such as an alteration to payment methods, then employees might be expected to accept these given adequate notice.  However, if major changes are involved, your daughter may be able to object and claim compensation for unfair dismissal if she is sacked.  She needs detailed advice on this either from her union or a solicitor.

Sister’s dithering

I own a cottage jointly with my sister.  The tenant has given a month’s notice and moved out and I would like to sell the property since we are moving abroad shortly.  But my sister cannot decide what to do, and has now gone off on six week holiday.  I am worried that the cottage will become damp and its value will start to drop.  Can I sell without her permission?  DB

If the property is in joint names then both signatures will be required to sell it.  You could go to court for permission to sell without your sister’s consent, but this is likely to be a lengthy and expensive procedure and will not result in the quick sale you’re looking for.  And you would probably fall out with your sister into the bar gain.  Your best bet is probably to compile a list of work required on the property which your sister will have to chip in for and persuade her of the merits of selling up.

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