The risk of redundancy can be an upsetting and stressful time particularly in these times of uncertainty with COVID-19. If you are put at risk of redundancy, your employer should follow a fair process and if they fail to do so, you may be able to bring a successful claim for unfair dismissal.
Why can my employer make me redundant?
Your employer can put your role at risk of redundancy and make you redundant if the business needs few people carrying out work of a particular kind, part or all of the business is closing, the location of the business is changing or there is a change in what the business is going to do or the way in which the business works.
You cannot be selected for redundancy or your role be put at risk of redundancy based on a criteria that directly or indirectly discriminates against you for various reasons including your age, sex, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave, parental leave, working part time, being a member of a trade union. You cannot be made redundant due to poor performance or because you have raised a grievance about a work related issue (whistleblowing).
What is the process?
A proper and meaningful consultation needs to be carried out with the affected employees. This is fundamental to the fairness of any dismissal for redundancy. Consultation times will vary according to the number of staff affected but a fair consultation will generally comprise a number of stages (1) warning and consultation, (2) fair basis of selection (3) consideration of alternative employment; and (4) opportunity to appeal.
Can I appeal a decision to make me redundant?
You can appeal against a decision to make you redundant if you think the reason you have been made redundant is unfair or the process that was followed was not fair and should do so if you are considering a claim.
If you believe that your redundancy is unfair, you can claim unfair dismissal if you have continuous employment for 2 years or more. Other types of claim (such as discrimination or whistleblowing) do not have a qualifying length of service.
How can we help?
If you are currently going through a redundancy process we can advise you on the process and the steps you should be taking to try to resist the redundancy and to make alternative suggestions. If your employment has already ended due to redundancy we can advise you on your prospects for potential claims. Employment claims have to be issued at the Employment Tribunal within a short period of time (generally 3 months of your termination date) regardless of whether your appeal has been dealt with, so early advice is advised to ensure you have time to make the claim and to involve ACAS early conciliation as will be required in order to be able to make a claim.
We are currently offering telephone and video conference meetings to advise clients in respect of employment matters including redundancy.
If you need any help or advice, please get in touch with Jo Cullen or Chloe Baxter in our employment law team.