One wonders until what point the ability of the employer to subordinate an employee gives him the faculty to unilaterally amend the employment conditions.
According to Colombian legislation, employers could change unilaterally the terms and conditions agreed with its employees based upon its subordination faculty. However, such change shall obey to reasonable situations that in any case may affect neither the dignity nor the honor of the employees.
Therefore, the employer could change the place, quantity, time and the way in which the work is performed, as long as the employer protects the dignity, interests, honor, security and minimum labor rights of the employees. In this sense, the possibility to change the terms of an employment contract is not an absolute faculty of the employer.
According to Article 25 of the National Constitution, everybody has the right to work in dignified and fair working conditions. Furthermore, Article 53 of the National Constitution states that labor contracts or collective agreements, cannot jeopardize the freedom, human dignity and the employees’ labor rights.
In this sense, the employer cannot unilaterally change the labor conditions when it can affect:
– The health of the employee,
– The stability of a family,
– The economic conditions,
– The amount of working hours.
To conclude, we consider that when an employer decides to change the terms of the employment agreement, it is highly probable that the employee´s rights may be affected; even in those cases where the changes obey to understandable reasons as could be the change of the location of the employer´s facilities as a strategy to lower costs.
Therefore, it is convenient to communicate any change on the terms of the contract in a written way, although it appears to be a decision that can be taken unilaterally and that seems to be reasonable. It is also advisable to keep a written evidence of the receipt of such communication by the employee.