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If your employer is considering making anyone, including you, redundant, there must be a genuine need for redundancies within the organisation. To find out more about legitimate grounds for being made redundant, see our redundancy advice page.
Some employers will say they are making you redundant when in fact they are discriminating against you and you are being unfairly dismissed. For more information about unfair dismissals and dismissals involving discrimination read our page ‘When is ‘Redundancy’ not redundancy?’
Employers must use a fair method when choosing which of their employees to make redundant. When using a selection procedure, your employer must make their decisions based on evidence. An employer who selects an employee for redundancy simply on the basis that they don’t like them will leave themselves open to a claim for unfair dismissal.
Your employer must also avoid discriminating against you or any of your other colleagues when they are deciding who to make redundant. If your employer makes a decision on redundancies based on race, gender or any other characteristics, this is unfair and you or any of your colleagues affected could claim compensation from an employment tribunal.
Redundancies are difficult for everyone involved and it is difficult to overstate the impact that being made redundant can have on your life. How your employer handles any redundancy procedure can go some way towards reducing the bad feelings you might have and can also provide you with help and assistance transferring to a new role within the same business, or finding employment elsewhere.
There are a variety of methods that can be used for redundancy procedures; sometimes the procedure used by your employer will be mentioned in your contract of employment. If you are a member of a trade union, then as well as consulting with you and your colleagues, your employer may also have come to an agreement with your union regarding the redundancy procedure. Similarly, if there are elected employee representatives in your workplace, your employer should consult them before the redundancy procedure begins.
Consultation is an important part of the redundancy procedure – your employer should consult you before making a decision on whether or not they are going to make you redundant. If your employer fails to consult you about your redundancy before making a decision then you could have grounds to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, even if there was a genuine reason for making you redundant.
The length of time any consultation period lasts will depend on the number of employees who are likely to be made redundant at the end of the procedure. When your employer is making a large number of people redundant within a short period of time (90 days), this is known as a collective redundancy. Collective redundancies follow a more formal consultation procedure and your employer must have consulted with the relevant trade unions or employee representatives.
There are legal requirements for how long the consultation periods in collective redundancies must be. If the collective redundancy involves between 20 and 99 employees, there must be a minimum of 30 days consultation before any redundancies are made. If the collective redundancy involves 100 or more employees, then there must be a minimum of 45 days of consultation before any redundancies are made.
As an alternative to making you redundant, your employer must also consider whether there are other roles within the business that are available and which you would be capable of doing. If a suitable role is available your employer should offer it to you, if they fail to offer it to you without having a good reason, an employment tribunal might consider you have been unfairly dismissed.
What makes an alternative job suitable or not for you will depend on a number of factors including the kind of work involved, the pay, where the job is located (it may be in a location some distance away from your current role) and your personal circumstances (this includes your skills and whether you would be able to do the job). Your employer must offer you an available alternative job before your current role ends and you must be given information about the alternative job so that you understand the differences compared with your current job.
At Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, our Employment Law team can provide you with expert legal advice if you are facing redundancy. We can also help if you are currently going through a redundancy consultation process with your employer or if you suspect you may have been unfairly dismissed by your employer under the guise of being made redundant.
We can offer help and support if you decide to take your employer to an employment tribunal to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. For more advice or for a free 10 minute consultation with one of our employment lawyers call now on 0151 239 1000 or fill in an enquiry form here on our website and a member of staff will call you back.