If you were told you were at risk of redundancy and made redundant the following day, what would you do?
In recent months tens of thousands of employees have lost their jobs by way of redundancy.
Many more are likely to face the same fate in the coming months, especially when the government furlough scheme ends in October.
News that you are at risk of redundancy can be distressing for any employee, at any time - and if the process is unfair it can compound this.
Medical writer Sam had worked for her employer for six years. She loved her job. In previous years the redundancy consultation process had led to Sam losing some good colleagues and dear friends from the company where she worked.
Sam found it extremely upsetting going through the process. Although she had often contemplated leaving, she never did so.
Instead she took on other part-time work, which she was able to do after submitting a flexible working request. It worked perfectly, Sam was happy and able to do both jobs without a problem.
All was well until one day when Sam was unexpectedly called into her manager’s office and hit with a bombshell.
She was told the company had reviewed its operations and that after doing so it had identified her job as being at risk of redundancy.
Sam was presented with details of what her redundancy payment would be.
In included statutory redundancy pay, her contractual notice pay and payment for outstanding annual leave.
Sam’s manager said in addition to that, and as a goodwill gesture, the company would also make a tax-free payment the equivalent of one months’ salary.
Sam said she was shocked because it was the last thing she was expecting. She was advised by her manager to think about it overnight.
A follow-up meeting and ‘discussion’ was arranged for first thing the next day. The meeting turned out not to be much of a discussion. Sam said her concerns and comments were treated dismissively.
She was handed a letter confirming her redundancy, told she could clear her desk and leave immediately without having to work her notice.
The letter said the decision was final and it did not inform Sam that she had the right to appeal the decision.
Sam did as she was told. Later the same day she wrote a letter of complaint to the company.
In response it said it would treat the letter as a formal grievance in line with its grievance procedure.
The company invited Sam to attend a grievance hearing the following week. Having never attended a grievance hearing Sam had no idea what to expect.
She spoke to a relative who advised her to contact the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.
Our representative was appalled by the way in which Sam had been treated but, with his vast experience, not surprised to hear of such an unfair redundancy process.
He discussed Sam’s desired outcome to the grievance. She wanted to leave but with a fair amount of money. Sam felt that the statutory redundancy pay and apparent goodwill payment was unreasonable.
A settlement agreement was explained to Sam, which she said would be ideal.
At the grievance hearing our representative asserted that the company had not followed a fair redundancy process.
He explained this in detail and highlighted the extreme unfairness of its handling of the situation, which included not providing Sam with the right to appeal.
He added that an employee, can appeal against being made redundant if they believe they were unfairly selected or their employer did not follow a fair redundancy process.
He told the hearing a redundancy will always be considered unfair if the employer has not followed a fair procedure, as in Sam’s case. Our representative maintained the decision to dismiss Sam amounted to unfair dismissal.
He explained to the grievance hearing chair how Sam had lost all trust and confidence in the company as a result of the way in which she had been treated.
Our representative said that her desired outcome was to reach a suitable and fair agreement that would allow her to leave.
This initiated a conversation about a settlement agreement, which was later agreed.
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