Fixing the real problems caused by a bogus redundancy dismissal
Published 26 October 2022
Relieved Grace was delighted after securing her dream outcome after a ‘nightmare’ at work.
The laboratory analyst was dismissed by way of redundancy after she had worked for her employer for just under eight years.
The process that led to her contract being terminated was a sham, as it was not a genuine redundancy situation.
Grace was dismissed after rejecting a proposal from her bosses to change her working hours. Her job and role still existed.
Our representative, who supported Grace in challenging the decision, was able to demonstrate it was not a real redundancy situation.
When Grace first had her dismissal confirmed, she was convinced she had been treated unfairly.
Grace appealed against the decision on the grounds it amounted to an unfair dismissal.
Prior to securing a settlement agreement to resolve her case, Grace also accused the company she had worked for of both sex and disability discrimination.
Grace was selected for ‘redundancy’ after making it clear she could not work new hours being proposed for her role.
The specified hours of work would mean she could not meet her childcare commitments along with caring for her disabled mother.
Grace agreed a working pattern of 9am to 5pm after returning to work from maternity leave about 18 months earlier
News of the so-called redundancy came very quickly after she queried if she could work Monday to Thursday and have Friday off.
Grace explained it would allow her to look after her mother because another family member was no longer able to do so on that day. The employer insisted it would not be possible.
Dismayed Grace was bluntly told the company was already doing more to support her than any other employee and she should be grateful.
Shortly afterwards Grace was informed of the new hours required for her role and informed because she could not work them she was at risk of redundancy.
What was said to be her redundancy was later confirmed. Grace was given a statutory redundancy payment.
Distraught Grace appealed against the decision and contacted our Employee Support Centre for help.
Our representative met with Grace to discuss and review the case.
After doing so he agreed she had been treated unfairly, the redundancy was a sham and not the real reason for dismissal.
Prior to the appeal hearing our representative contacted the employer to request evidence to support its decision to make Grace redundant. That request included details of the business case for redundancy, the selection process and the old and new structure.
Bizarrely the company insisted it was sensitive business information, which it could not divulge for data protection reasons. It did say it would discuss the information at the appeal.
The dubious explanation for withholding the requested information meant it would deny Grace an opportunity to fully prepare to present her appeal at the hearing.
It led to Grace raising a grievance and adding unfair treatment to it alongside sex and disability discrimination, which had already been prepared to be submitted to her employer.
The appeal against redundancy was put on hold and the grievance dealt with first.
At the grievance hearing our representative argued the redundancy was bogus and the dismissal was for Grace’s justified rejection of the underhand way in which the business tried to change her hours of work.
He highlighted the fair process that should be followed to change an employee’s working hours, the fact her role remained and that no evidence had been provided to support there ever was a genuine redundancy situation.
The grievance chair, to her credit, acknowledged ‘obvious failings in the process.’
Grace had secured what she called her dream job prior to the hearing, so her desired outcome to the grievance was to reach a settlement agreement.
With our representative’s help an agreement was later reached. It resulted in Grace being paid a five-figure tax free lump sum in addition to her redundancy payment