Employment law advice in Wimbledon, South West London, Epsom and Surrey

What is a redundancy?

When your employer needs to reduce its workforce or undertakes a team reorganisation this often results in making certain roles at risk, or redundant. The people employed to do those jobs are made redundant, which most commonly results in dismissal.

Once you have two years continuous service with your employer, you automatically have statutory rights, though you may not be aware of what these are. At a time which can inevitably be troubling, our supportive team of employment law specialists can assist and guide you on your rights and what steps to take. We have a wealth of experience negotiating settlement agreements, which can improve the terms from statutory or contractual entitlement, or, in certain cases, making a claim against your employer.

Here are some commonly asked questions we receive about dismissal and redundancy:

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  • The closure of a business

Your employer ceases to carry on business for which you were originally employed, and therefore your role is redundant. This can be the partial or total closure of your employer’s business.

  • Change of location of the business or workplace

As part of a reorganisation, your employer ceases to carry out work at the place that you were employed. They might choose to relocate the business either as a cost saving exercise or to change the client focus or area in which they wish to operate. Although you might have a mobility clause permitting your employer to require you to work in another location, it may still result in your redundancy, as the new location of your workplace might mean you can’t realistically commute to work.

  • Reduced requirement of the specific role of the employee

Typically, this occurs when there is a reorganisation that may see certain duties  merged or taken away, which can result in a redundancy. Typically, this might be a situation where headcount is too high and you and the other employees carrying out the same role are placed in ‘pool’ of employees, and one or more of the employees are selected for redundancy.

All of the above might result in a compulsory redundancy, although employers will sometimes offer voluntary redundancy.

There are five fair reasons for dismissal. Redundancy as outline above is one of them. The other four reasons are: the employee’s conduct; capability or performance; illegality, such as a change of your immigration status; and some other substantial reason (SOSR) which isn’t covered above, but might include the breakdown of a working relationship.

For a dismissal to be fair your employer must ensure not only that the reason is fair but that they have followed the correct process.

Unfair dismissal

Some examples of automatically unfair dismissals are: making a flexible working request; being pregnant or on maternity leave; wanting to take family leave, for example parental, paternity or adoption leave; being a trade union member or representative; taking part in legal, official industrial action for 12 weeks or less, for example going on strike; asking for a legal right, for example to be paid the National Minimum Wage; doing jury service; being involved in whistleblowing; being forced to retire (known as ‘compulsory retirement’); or taking action, or proposing to take action, over a health and safety issue.

Dismissal usually refers to the termination of an employee’s employment due to capability or conduct of the employee. Termination, by contrast, can refer to either of those reasons  or some other reason where no fault lies with the employee – such as redundancy or a fixed term contract coming to an end.

You must be given at least the notice stated in your contract of employment or the statutory minimum notice period, whichever of the two is longer. You should receive any outstanding wages or other remuneration still owing, any pay in lieu of notice of termination, and any pay equivalent to outstanding holiday you haven’t taken.

If you are an employee and have been working for your current employer for a minimum of two years, you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. The amount of statutory redundancy pay you receive is based on your age, length of service, and weekly pay and is capped at £643 a week for each complete year you have worked with your employer. Your contract of employment might provide for a more generous redundancy payment.

If you have been unfairly dismissed, you may be able to make a claim through an employment tribunal. If you win the case, you could be entitled to a basic award and a compensatory award. The basic award is worked out in the same way as redundancy pay, using age along with weekly pay and years employed.

Redundancy or dismissal can be an unsettling and stressful process. It can make you worry about your finances and career. Having a supportive employment solicitor on your side to offer the best legal advice can help you navigate this difficult time, and lead to a better outcome.

Unfair dismissal claims

In order to bring a claim for unfair dismissal you need to have been continuously employed by your employer for at least two years. The team here can advise on whether you have a potential claim – if the reason and process for your dismissal is deemed fair under employment law.

Constructive dismissal claims

If you feel that you have been forced to resign because of your employer’s conduct, you may be able to make a constructive dismissal claim. However, it can be difficult to win such a claim at an employment tribunal, and resigning and claiming constructive dismissal should be a last resort. Your should first raise a problem informally by talking to your employer. If you’ve already tried to resolve things informally, you can raise a grievance. This is where you make a formal complaint to your employer. If you’re going to resign, you should talk one of our team first.

Redundancy issues

If you have been told by your employer that you are at risk of being made redundant either because they wish to reduce head count, or your employer is undergoing a reorganisation then talk to us about whether it is in fact a genuine redundancy and what your options might be.

Wrongful dismissal claims

Wrongful dismissal  is when your employer breaches your contract of employment by dismissing you without notice or with insufficient contractual notice or without giving statutory notice.

Our discreet and supportive team can work closely with you to give you expert, practical advice through every step of the redundancy process. Please get in touch to discuss your situation.