Finding out that you have been made redundant usually sparks the beginning of an extremely stressful time. There might be credible reasons for your redundancy such as the business closing, moving to a new location or being taken over. But in some cases, you may have walked out of a meeting that resulted in your redundancy thinking “was that fair?”
If you have been made redundant and you feel as though you have been treated unfairly or you’re unsure whether your redundancy was fair or not, it’s important to understand the requirements of an unfair redundancy dismissal claim. If the dismissal isn’t fair, the employer is breaching the Employment Rights Act 1996.
What procedures should the redundancy process follow?
If fewer than 20 employees are to be made redundant, employers don’t have a fixed redundancy procedure to follow. However, a consultation is necessary and this should involve consideration of employees’ concerns.
A consultation requires employers to consider ways of avoiding redundancies or minimising the number of redundancies. It isn’t enough for employers to simply inform employees that they are going to be made redundant.
Employers need to individually speak to every employee who is facing redundancy and explain why redundancies are being made and offer any alternatives to redundancy that are available. Considerations must also be made to employees whose roles, workloads and responsibilities will change as a result of the redundancies.
Fair redundancy selection
In a redundancy process, an employer is likely to be in a position where they have to select which of the employees will be let go and which will remain. The way in which an employer chooses who is made redundant is vital. The criteria must be fair and objective, otherwise the redundant employee may be entitled to claim for unfair dismissal.
Redundancy selection criteria that have been established by the courts as being objective include:
- Asking for volunteers
- Attendance records
- Disciplinary records
- Skills, competencies and qualifications
- Skills required going forward
- Performance records
Of course, if the whole company was closing down or everyone in a specific department was being made redundant, no redundancy selection process is necessary.
When is a redundancy dismissal unfair?
Businesses may have no choice but to consider redundancies but if certain procedures aren’t followed or the selection process isn’t objective, dismissals can be deemed unfair.
Selecting employees based on the following reasons is automatically considered unfair:
- Personal relations
- Sex, sexual orientation or marital status
- Disability, race or religion
- Contract type (part-time, full-time etc.)
- Pregnancy or maternity reasons
Aside from a fair selection and a consultation period, there are aspects of a redundancy process that an employer must comply with.
Those made redundant should receive a minimum period of notice equivalent to a week for every year of employment. However, an employer must honour the terms in each employee’s contract. They must also be allowed a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to find a new job or to arrange training. What is deemed reasonable varies in each circumstance but the employer needs to be able to show that the time they have provided employees with is adequate.
Finally, all employees have an entitlement to redundancy pay once they have been employed for two years or more.
Employment law specialists in Leicestershire
If you think that you have been dismissed for unfair reasons or the redundancy process hasn’t been followed, get in touch with our employment law specialists. Bray & Bray has three main offices in Leicestershire, contact us to discuss an enquiry or a case you have or feel free to pop in and see us at your local office by clicking on the links below:
Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.
Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.
Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.