As more companies face the difficult decision of making redundancies, Andrew Rhodes, an employment barrister at No5 Barristers’ Chambers, explains everything UK employees need to know if they are facing a job loss.
“Having your role put under threat of redundancy can be an incredibly stressful time. Below is everything you need to know to ensure you go through the correct fair legal process.
“When your employers decide to announce redundancies, this is usually done through a conversation with your superiors and followed by a formal letter confirming the reasoning behind their action. It is from this point that it is vital that you keep a record of both formal and informal conversations during this process. This will ensure that if anything isn’t done correctly, you have the facts to fall back on. When speaking to your employer, do not be afraid to ask questions and query the process. This will not impact their decision.
“Your first step is to consult your union, if you have one. They would have been informed that your employers were looking to make redundancies and will be able to advice you on your rights. If you are not part of one, researching where you stand is vital.
“Employers are obligated to keep you informed of any steps that will take place during the redundancy process and are required to consult how to potentially avoid your role being made redundant. The employer is required to select criteria for redundancy which are fair and as objective as possible. This could involve assessing employees on their performance, experience or qualifications.
“If you are selected for redundancy, your employer must make reasonable efforts to find you alternative employment within the business, usually through highlighting suitable vacancies. It is your choice if you want to accept or look for employment elsewhere.
“If you are selected, there are rules set out by law that your former employer must follow regarding redundancy pay. If you have worked at a business for more than two years, you are entitled to a redundancy payment, based on your length of employment and your age. If you believe that you haven’t received a payment that reflects your service, you may have a claim for a failure to make the payment you are entitled to.
“If you believe that you have been made redundant due to you having one of the nine protected characteristics, including race, sexual orientation and disability, you may have cause for a legal claim against your former employer. This includes cases of maternity discrimination where an employer has failed to consult with you due to you being on leave.
“If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed, it is recommended that you seek legal advice on any next steps to get you the outcome you want and deserve.”