If you have been selected for redundancy simply because you are on a Fixed-Term Contract, it is likely to be unlawful.
What Is A Fixed-Term Contract?
There are various types of Fixed-Term contracts but not all of them fall under the definition as a Fixed-Term contract for the purposes of the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. The Fixed-Term Employees Regulations only apply to employees and not to other workers.
Definition: The Fixed-Term Employees Regulations
The expiry of a fixed term.
The completion of a particular task.
The occurrence or non-occurrence of any other specific event.
Examples Of A Fixed-Term Contract
- A contract which ends on a specific date.
- A contract covering a permanent employee’s maternity leave which will terminate on the permanent employee returning to work.
- A contract due to expire on the completion of a particular project.
- A short-term seasonal contract designed to provide for additional demand or workload.
The Right Not To Be Less Favourably Treated
If you are a Fixed-Term employee, you have the right not to be treated less favourably to a comparable permanent employee. Less favourable treatment can be by the terms of your contract or if you are subject to any other detriment by any act, or a deliberate failure to act by your employer. For example, your pay being less, or you are not offered the same training opportunities or the opportunity to apply for permanent posts.
How Do You Show You Have Been Treated Less Favourably?
You must be able to compare your condition to a comparable permanent employee. This would need to be a current employee who is not on a Fixed-Term contract and who is employed by your employer. It is also relevant for the comparable employee to have a similar level of qualification and skill to you too.
You Have The Right To Request A Written Statement Of Reasons
If you consider you have received less favourable treatment you have the right to request a written statement of the reasons for your less favourable treatment. You must make the request in writing, to your employer, and your employer has 21 days to respond to you. Your employer should provide full reasons for any difference in treatment or their denial with an explanation why you are wrong. However, be mindful that a request for reasons of less favourable treatment does not apply where the treatment in question is dismissal.
Can Your Employer Defend Their Actions?
It is possible for employers to be able to ‘objectively justify’ the treatment to defend their less favourable treatment. However, there is no definition of what is accepted as ‘objectively justifying’ less favourable treatment. That said, your employer would be required to show that the treatment satisfied all of the following:-
- The treatment was to achieve a legitimate aim.
- It was necessary to achieve that aim.
- It was an appropriate way to achieve that aim.
Ultimately, each case will have to be reviewed individually to ascertain whether your employer has met the above criteria.
It is unlikely to be lawful to select you for redundancy simply because you are on a Fixed-Term contract, unless your employer can show your selection was objectively justified.
How Could An Employer Objectively Justify Redundancy
Again, each case would have to be reviewed individually but some possible examples could be where you had been employed for six months to complete a particular task and that task had been completed or it is based on length of service, so long as the same criteria was applied to permanent staff.
Are You Entitled To The Same Redundancy Pay?
Generally, yes, if you are selected for redundancy, Fixed-Term employees should not be excluded from enhanced contractual redundancy payment schemes without a legitimate reason. It is unlikely that an employer will be able to objectively justify the exception but again, this would need to be reviewed on an individual basis.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you feel you are being treated less favourably because you are on a Fixed-Term contract, please call us for a free enquiry on 01522 440512. Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form and one of our Specialist Employment Solicitors will telephone you to discuss your matter. You can meet our Specialist Employment Solicitors here; https://lincslaw.co.uk/about/our-team/
Associate Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
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