A redundancy involves either the closure, (whether temporary or permanent) of a business as a whole or closure of a particular workplace where the employee was employed or a reduction in the size of the workforce.
An employer is legally obligated to take certain steps to make sure that a redundancy is carried out fairly. If the redundancy is not carried out fairly this could lead to a claim for Wrongful Dismissal, Unfair Dismissal and/ or a Redundancy payment, either based upon the legal minimum or based upon the employee’s employment contract.
Before deciding to make anyone redundant, there must be a genuine need for redundancy. Sometimes, employers say you are redundant when this is not the real reason for dismissing you. Being notified that you have been put at risk of redundancy can be a highly stressful ordeal to go through, particularly if after years of longstanding employment, redundancy has come as a surprise to you. It’s essential that you enter the redundancy process with confidence that it is being conducted in a proper and fair manner.
When choosing employees for redundancy, your employer must use a method which is fair and which does not discriminate against you for reasons such as your race or sex. They must base their decisions on some evidence, for example, on disciplinary records, rather than just deciding to get rid of you because they don’t like you.
If a method for deciding redundancies has been agreed with a trade union, or there is a procedure written down in your employment contract, your employer should follow it.
Even if there is no redundancy procedure written down in your employment contract, there may be a procedure which your employer has used regularly in the past and which the workforce has not objected to. If this is the case, your employer must follow this procedure, unless it is an unfair one.
If your employer uses an unfair selection procedure, this could be unfair dismissal and you may be able to claim compensation from an employment tribunal. In England, Wales and Scotland, to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you must have worked for your employer for at least one year if you started before 6 April 2012 or at least two years if you started on or after 6 April 2012. As well as claiming unfair dismissal, you may also be able to claim redundancy pay. You must have worked for your employer for at least two years to get statutory redundancy pay.
(Do note however that if there was discrimination involved in the redundancy procedures, you can bring a discrimination claim regardless of how long you have worked for your employer).
In redundancy consultation cases, we routinely advise employees on their employment rights and consider whether a proper procedure is or has been followed, including whether or not there has been adequate consultation, a fair redundancy selection, and the provision of opportunities for suitable alternative work. We can then advise on whether or not the employee can bring an unfair dismissal claim if there are grounds to show that the redundancy process was flawed or unfair.
We are very familiar with challenging redundancy selection as well as tactics to maximise redundancy compensation pay. Our Employment Law Solicitors can support you through each step of the redundancy process to achieve the best possible outcome for you. We can advise you on the compensation available if you are facing redundancy, considering your individual circumstances so as to negotiate a better termination package. Please call us on 01928 560022 for a consultation if you are facing a redundancy situation or if you have been made redundant.