Where an employer has used its intranet to advise employees of its wish to make a change to their contractual terms, can the employer treat the fact that its employees have not objected as their acceptance of the change?

Where an employer has used its intranet to advise employees of its wish to make a change to contractual terms and conditions, it would be unwise for it to treat a lack of objection as an acceptance of the change.

Employers should not use their intranet as a substitute for consultation. An intranet can be used as part of the process for the sharing of information, but where there are contractual changes the employer must follow a proper consultation process before making the change, to protect from the risk of unfair constructive dismissal claims.

Employers should also be aware that a lack of objection cannot be regarded as an acceptance, particularly if the effect of the change has yet to be felt. In Aparau v Iceland Frozen Foods plc [1996] IRLR 119 EAT the employee was issued with new terms and conditions that gave the employer the right to move them to another location. About a year later the employer decided to move the employee to another store. They objected and claimed constructive dismissal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected the employer's argument that, as the employee had worked under the new terms for about a year, they could be taken as having accepted them. The EAT said that, where there is no immediate practical effect of a change, employers need to act with great caution before implying consent on the part of an employee.