What to Do if Facing Redundancy

22 August 2018

If you are facing a redundancy situation, you need to check that your redundancy is in fact fair, and that your employment rights are being met. If not, you could take a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Is Your Redundancy Fair?

If you've been told that you're going to be made redundant, you're probably feeling stressed, and possibly even quite shocked. However, it's vital that you remain proactive when facing a redundancy, because you need to be sure that your employment rights are not being denied.

So the first thing you must do is to check that your redundancy is actually fair.

Regardless of how long you've worked at your job, your employer must find an objective way of selecting employees for redundancy. The reason cannot be based on what is called a "protected characteristic" such as your:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion/belief
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage/civil partnership
  • Pregnancy/maternity leave.

Your employer also cannot select you for redundancy for reasons such as your involvement in lawful industrial action, whistleblowing, jury service and trade union activity. If you are selected for redundancy for any of these reasons, you will have been discriminated against and you will be entitled to pursue a claim of unfair dismissal.

If you've worked for your employer for two years or more, your employer must also:

  • Prove that your job is no longer required
  • Try to find you suitable alternative employment within the employer's organisation
  • Follow a fair process – this involves following the redundancy process set out in your contract/staff handbook (or used for previous redundancies), inviting you for a consultation, using objective selection criteria and allowing you to appeal the decision.

If your employer fails to comply with the above, your redundancy could be considered unfair. Again, this would enable you to make a claim based on unfair dismissal.

Your Employment Rights

You must check what your statutory employment rights are when it comes to redundancy. This is the bare minimum that your employer must offer you, although your contract of employment may provide for greater employment rights.

You statutory employment rights will depend on how long you've been with your current employer, and your age. These may include:

  • Redundancy pay – redundancy pay is typically only awarded if you've been working for your employer for at least two years. The amount you'll get depends on your age and length of service
  • A notice period – the amount of notice you're given will vary depending on how long you've worked for the organisation, and will range from one week's notice to 12 weeks'
  • Notice pay – you should be paid while you work your notice period, or in lieu of notice if you are dismissed immediately or early
  • Time off to find another job – you're allowed a reasonable amount of time off to look for another job, but usually only if you've been employed for at least two years.

If your employer fails to meet your statutory employment rights, you can raise a formal complaint. If this doesn't lead to a satisfactory conclusion, you might want to bring a claim at an Employment Tribunal.

Employment Legal Advice

If you're facing a redundancy situation and you think you might have been unfairly selected, or you think your employer has not followed the correct process or respected your employment rights, you should speak to an Employment Solicitor.

At Co-op Legal Services our Employment Solicitors offer an initial assessment of your situation during a 30 minute phone call. This costs just £60 (including VAT) and will help you understand whether your redundancy is unfair or falls short of your statutory rights.

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