Redundancy

Redundancy

Being told you are being made redundant puts pressure on you and your family. Unfortunately, you are often stressed and anxious at the very time you need to be thinking clearly. In this post, we set out some questions to help you prepare for a redundancy process.

At its essence, any redundancy process involves your employer stating that they do not need you anymore. After years of hard work, long hours, interrupted holidays and dedication to a business, this can be a very difficult message to hear. Legal definitions of redundancy refer to job roles and employers will often say their decision is not personal, however it is obviously personal to you which is why you should fully engage with the process.

What is Redundancy?

A redundancy situation occurs when:-

  • the employer’s business or part of the business no longer operates; and/or
  • the employer’s business moves to a different town; and/or
  • the business needs for a particular type of work or role has ceased or diminished.

Some redundancy situations are obvious, for example where a business closes down or ceases to trade. Other situations are more difficult, for example where the amount of work has reduced affecting some employees but not others.

Even if there is a genuine redundancy situation, the employer must follow a fair procedure and consult with employees about the process used to select which members of staff are to be made redundant.

Redundancy Consultation

As above, all redundancy processes will involve some type of redundancy consultation. Often this will take the form of a meeting with your employer. It is important to attend the consultation meetings and raise the concerns have about the redundancy process. The types of questions you ask. or representations you make, will depend upon your personal situation. However, I set out below some of the more common types of queries raised:-

Is this a genuine redundancy?

This argument is used often (but by no means exclusively) when you are the only person at risk of redundancy. You may be of the view that there is no need for a reduction of staffing at all and you are being targeted for reasons wholly unrelated to any genuine restructure or redundancy. You should be ready to challenge your employer about the need for redundancies. Ask why, why now, what are they hoping the redundancy will achieve, what will happen to your duties and responsibilities, what alternatives have they considered etc. Make sure your concerns are known, make sure you obtain a response from your employer to your questions and that there is a record of any evidence you present contradicting their answers.

Is the pool of employees “at risk” of redundancy identified correctly?

Essentially, if your employer has identified a number of people from which they intend to select some employees to be made redundant, you want to be sure that the correct people are in the pool. Challenge your employer as to how they selected the employees involved. Identify those you believe should have been included but were not. Challenge your inclusion in the pool of employees at risk.

Is there an unfair procedure or selection criteria?

This argument is often used if there is a genuine redundancy situation and the pool of employees has been correctly identified, but there is a flaw in the procedure or selection process which would render any resulting redundancy unreasonable or unfair. Is the process discriminatory? Has too much weighting been given to some scores rather than others? Ask your employer why they have chosen the selection criteria they have.

Are you being unfairly selected for redundancy?

This argument is often used in situations where there is some scoring of employees within the selection process. You may feel unhappy about your scores or the person who will be doing the scoring. If you are being made redundant, you need to make sure you understand why you have been chosen.

Has the selection criteria been applied fairly to you?

The above is not an exhaustive list and there may be other issues or concerns you may have about your proposed redundancy. It is important that you use the consultation meetings to set out those concerns and obtain a response from your employer. After all, if there is a genuine redundancy situation and they are following a fair procedure, they should have no difficulty in answering your questions.

If you want assistance with a redundancy matter, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors on 01522 440512 for a no obligation, free consultation.

When can a Redundancy be an Unfair Dismissal?

There are many reasons why what is purported to be a redundancy can actually be an unfair dismissal. The most obvious is where there is no genuine redundancy situation and the employer is using redundancy as an excuse to get rid of an employee they just don’t want for some reason. This could be because of sickness absence, because they are about to take maternity leave, because of some discriminatory reason: indeed almost any reason except a genuine redundancy. Many employees have been made redundant only to see their job advertised in the local paper a few days later.

Alternatively, whilst there could be an underlying genuine redundancy situation, the employer could use an artificial selection process to ensure that those employees they wish to get rid of are selected for redundancy.

In addition, there could be a genuine redundancy situation and a genuine selection of employees, but the employer has failed to consider whether they have any suitable alternative employment available in their organisation for the at risk employee. Often the employer takes the original decision fairly and properly, but fails properly to monitor vacancies and alternative employment up to the end of the employee’s notice period. The obligation to consider suitable alternative employment for a potentially redundant employee last up to and including their last day of employment.

If you want assistance with a redundancy matter, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors on 01522 440512 for a no obligation, free consultation.

Time Limits

As a general rule, you must submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal within three months of your redundancy. You use the last day of your employment as the first day when calculating the time limit. For example, if your last day of employment was 30th June, your claim would need to be submitted to the Employment Tribunal on or before 29th September. However, please note, before submitting your claim you will first have to go through the ACAS Early Conciliation Process. Employment Tribunal time limits can be extended if you are going through the conciliation process when your Employment Tribunal time limit would normally expire. However, if you do not start the ACAS Early Conciliation Process within the normal time limit, you will not receive any extension to submit your claim.

Employment Tribunal time limits are incredibly strict and if you have been dismissed you should seek legal advice immediately. Claims submitted “out of time” will not be accepted by the Employment Tribunal and in those circumstances your ability to pursue your claim will be lost. It is therefore important that if you have a workplace concern or issue, you take legal advice as soon as possible.

If you want assistance with a redundancy matter, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors for a no obligation, free consultation.