Position Change in Workplace and its Consequences in Turkey

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Employment relation between employer and employee is established for a certain type of job expected from employees, however the requirements of a company may change in the course of time and employers want some of their personnel to work in different type of jobs or positions.

The change on the job description or in the position may not be welcomed by the employee and ensued conflicts are usually settled by the courts. 

Importance of Job description

Job description should include essential skills, training and education, as well as characteristic of job, duties and responsibilities of the personnel, in other words everything expected from the employee.

From the point of Turkish Labor Law

Changing an employee’s job description or position is considered as a substantia change in working conditions and terms of employment, and should be implemented in line with article 22 of Labor Law 4857 as shown below;

  • Employer who want to make a substantial changes  in working conditions based on the employment contract he must give a written notification to the employee
  • Change should be accepted by employee in written form within 6 workdays following the employer's notification.
  • Changes that are not in conformity with this procedure and not accepted by the employee in written form within six working days shall not bind the employee.
  • In case of employee’s not accepting the offer for the job change within this period, the employer may terminate the employment contract by respecting the term of notice, provided that he indicates in written form that the proposed change is based on a valid reason or there is another valid reason for termination.
  • Employee’s rights to claim compensation or file a reemployment lawsuit are reserved.

Are Employees obliged to accept the change? 

In general, employer cannot force the employees to accept the job or position change, and in case the change is against goodwill (position change as a punishment, etc.) or the change is considered as a substantia change employee may terminate the contract with just cause.

For example:

An ironer cannot be forced to work as a dishwasher, or a driver as a cleaning worker; otherwise he will have the right to terminate with just cause. 

However, he must reject the job change in written format within 6 workdays in any case.

 Job and position changes that are not considered as substantial

The changes that;

  • don’t give any harm to employee’s profession, status and prestige
  • don’t increase the workload of employee
    • don’t decrease the employee’s wage and additional benefits
  • are equivalent to employee’s current job or position
  • are suitable to employee’s skills and experience

are not considered as substantial and the employee is obliged to accept the change; otherwise employer will have the right to terminate the employment contract with valid reason.

Position change for underperformance

In case the employee’s performance is found inadequate in his department employer may transfer him to another part of the workplace suitable to his skills.

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