The threat of redundancy can be unsettling, worrying and scary and it is currently something hundreds of thousands of employees across the country are facing.
There is a genuine redundancy situation when: an employer closes their business or part of it; an employer closes the location at which the employee works; or the employer’s need for employees to perform the work has diminished.
The question always is whether the employer can genuinely show there is a need to make redundancies.
An employee can claim for unfair dismissal on the basis that the dismissal was not procedurally fair even though the reason (i.e. redundancy) is a fair one.
This was the case with designer Liz when it was said that she was dismissed by reason of redundancy from the company where she had worked for eight years.
Liz discussed her case with our representative after she called the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for advice and assistance with an appeal.
She explained that everything seemed to happen in a blur. Prior to being informed about the redundancy Liz had been called in to her manager’s office. An individual said to be a legal advisor for the company was also present.
Liz was told by her boss that the business had lost a significant contract, which meant that as she was the highest paid designer she would have to take a significant pay cut. She was told others would have to do the same.
The news was a shock to Liz. Just over six months earlier she had handed in her notice after being offered a new job with a bigger salary, but she was persuaded to stay by her manager and offered a pay increase. Liz accepted it and stayed with the company.
Now she was being told not only would she lose that pay increase - but she would also have to accept a salary lower than her original one.
Liz objected and said she would not agree to the change of employment contract and it could not be enforced without her consent.
The manager and advisor insisted it was all above board. Liz was told she could leave if she did not accept the change. She was told her notice period would be paid along with her outstanding leave and she would get a standard reference.
Liz refused the offer. She was then informed that her position would be made redundant and she would receive statutory redundancy pay.
The following week Liz was called to what was said to be a redundancy consultation meeting. She was told at the end of the meeting that her position had been made redundant, but she had the right to appeal.
Liz submitted an appeal and contacted Castle Associates.
Our representatives are experts in the redundancy process. It was very clear in this case that the apparent redundancy dismissal was unfair and a sham.
Prior to the appeal hearing our representative requested a host of information from the employer regarding the ‘redundancy process’. That request included the business case, the number of employees affected and details of the redundancy process/ procedure followed in Liz’s case.
None of the information was provided. To its credit the employer admitted at the appeal hearing that it had not followed a fair redundancy process. In its words it ‘could have done better.’
Our representative had discussed Liz’s desired outcome to the appeal with her before the meeting. She wanted to leave with a fair financial package.
This led to our representative being able to initiate a conversation about a settlement agreement. An agreement was later reached and as part of the package Liz received a five-figure tax free lump sum.
Fortunately for Liz a short time afterwards the vacancy that she had turned down some months earlier became available again - and she got the job.
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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611