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Redundancy and Disability

By: Emma Eilbeck BA (hons) - Updated: 10 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Disabilities Law Employers Discriminate

With one in eight UK workers estimated to be disabled, employers need to be clued up when it comes to the redundancy rights of those with disabilities.

It can in some instances be harder for people with disabilities to find work, so if they are made redundant and feel they have been wronged, they will be eager to make a claim, especially if they will struggle to find work elsewhere.

It can be extra stressful if your are disabled and facing redundancy, but an employer has a legal obligation to treat you the same as other employees and make what is known as reasonable adjustments to their redundancy procedure to accommodate you, even if your disability is relatively minor.

What the Law Says for Employers

Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for a firm to discriminate against an employee because of their disability.Your disability cannot be used as a reason to make you redundant and the law will come down hard on any employer that uses this defence.

Your employer must make sure the selection process they use does not put you at a disadvantage in anyway, for example if an employer is using attendance records as criteria for redundancy they cannot hold it against you if you were off sick due to your disability and should not include these days in their assessment.

The same would apply if they base redundancy on an aptitude test but you are unable to complete the test because of your disability, they would have to prove their reason for doing this was valid.

If your employer does use a method to select redundancy that you think unfair they will need to prove that there is a balanced reason for this.

If your employer does offer you an alternative to redundancy they will also need to make sure that the job they are offering you is something that you cannot do because of your disability. For example, if they offer you a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting or movement which is impossible because of your disability you could argue that this is discriminating against you.

Under the Equality Act 2010 an employer must make what is known as “reasonable adjustments” to the redundancy procedure for disabled employees.

If for example they are holding the redundancy interviews in the workplace and you work from home, your employer would be obliged to pay you a home visit to discuss your redundancy, or arrange for transportation to help you get into the office.

If you feel that you have been victimised because of your redundancy you should seek legal help and consider lodging a complaint with an employment tribunal.

Your Obligations to Your Employer

In order for your employer to act fair and reasonable when dealing with redundancy they will first and foremost need to be aware of your disability.

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of your disability so you should not fear telling them about it.There are rules governing when an employer is allowed to ask you about any disabilities, but when they do it is important you are honest.

If you want to make a claim for unfair dismissal at a later date you will have needed have informed your employer of your disability prior to this. It will not work in your favour if you keep your disability a secret.

There is also an obligation from your employer to question your health and if you have taken a number of sick days from work they should make an effort to find out why this is, if it is well known if your workplace that you are disabled your employer will be expected to ask you about this.

Disabled employees should be treated and given the same rights as every other employee when it comes to redundancy. Whether it is pay, tools to do the job or access to work, your disability should not count against you and your employer should adapt their redundancy procedure to cater for you.

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Thank you for your reply and adviceI've not heard of ACAS but I will ring them and see if they can help me.ive not selpt for 3 days my wife had a phone call from the HR manger on the phone yesterday saying there have put coming too my home off for a week so they are coming in 2 weeks time now so I will be stressing until they do come.my wife told the HR manger about the Equality Act 2010 the HR Manger said she did not know what my wife was on about.anyway thank you for your help I will give this acas a ring Kind regards JJ
JJ - 10-Mar-18 @ 8:48 AM
JJ - Your Question:
HelloI suffered the Works back injury in 2016 October tripping over Airlines on the floor with a 3 metre combination ladder in my hands it's left me disabled with a chronic back condition and other issues.I've been off ever since apart from 3 months of hell when I tried to go back too work because of financial reasons to support my family.so on the 20th of March 2017 I returned I wasn't signed off fit for work but the production said it was ok I could go back 4 hours a day.too my horror they put me on a machine where I was bending down constantly and walking from front to back of the machine to load and unload it.i told them the machine was killing me my back could not take it.they said its all they could offer me and left me like it I broke down 20th of June 2017 in the HR office and said I cant take it anymore.I've been off ever since I receive the p I p, industrial injuries benefit,blue badge holder my life has been a living hell.after 20 years employment with my company I've just found out that this Wednesday coming 15th March 2018 the HR manager along with the Union representation are coming to my home to wrap up my employment.after my accident I suffer post-traumatic stress disorder depression anxiety and depression I've even had thoughts of ending it all.the Works insurance have been nothing more than vile sending me everywhere spinal specialist psychiatrists psychologists counsellors not too offer me any help,but just too gather reports on me for my employer but they didn't like the findings they received.My employer has broke me.I have an injury compensation claim against my employer through unite union.but the solicitors for the union said my case is difficult and complex after my employer denied liability for my accident.im broken man too top it off after 20 years service they're going to let me go.have you any advice please regards JJ

Our Response:
You can see more regarding whether your dismissal could be classed as disability discrimination via the link here. In this case, I advise you to speak directly to ACAS or your own TU representative in order to explore your options further as you will need direct professional advice.
RedundancyExpert - 9-Mar-18 @ 10:03 AM
Hello I suffered the Works back injury in 2016 October tripping over Airlines on the floor with a 3 metre combination ladder in my hands it's left me disabled with a chronic back condition and other issues.I've been off ever since apart from 3 months of hell when I tried to go back too work because of financial reasons to support my family.so on the 20th of March 2017 I returned I wasn't signed off fit for work but the production said it was ok I could go back 4 hours a day.too my horror they put me on a machine where I was bending down constantly and walking from front to back of the machine to load and unload it.i told them the machine was killing me my back could not take it.they said its all they could offer me and left me like it i broke down 20th of June2017 in the HR office and said i cant take it anymore.I've been off ever since I receive the p i p, industrial injuries benefit,blue badge holder my life has been a living hell.after 20 years employment with my company I've just found out that this Wednesday coming 15th March 2018 the HR manager along with the Union representation are coming to my home to wrap up my employment.after my accident I suffer post-traumatic stress disorder depression anxiety and depression I've even had thoughts of ending it all.the Works insurance have been nothing more than vile sending me everywhere spinal specialist psychiatrists psychologists counsellors not too offer me any help,but just too gather reports on me for my employer but they didn't like the findings they received.My employer has broke me.I have an injurycompensation claim against my employer through unite union.but the solicitors for the union said my case is difficult and complex after my employer denied liability for my accident.im broken man too top it off after 20 years service they're going to let me go.have you any advice please regards JJ
JJ - 8-Mar-18 @ 3:45 PM
Ali - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for 12 years and in the last 2 years had to reduce my hours before of a back operation I can no longer do part of the job which they have accommodated me but in a few months they will be relocating to another store where I will have to do the full job such as picking heavy items which I cannot do I am 57 years old and fear that I will not get another job what can I do ? Do I have to take redundancy ? Or do they have to adjust it for me ?

Our Response:
The CAB link here and here should help answer your question further.
RedundancyExpert - 12-Feb-18 @ 3:10 PM
I have worked for a company for 12 years and in the last 2 years had to reduce my hours before of a back operation i can no longer do part of the job which they have accommodated me but in a few months they will be relocating to another store where I will have to do the full job such as picking heavy items which I cannot do I am57 years old and fear that I will not get another job what can i do ? Do I have to take redundancy ? Or do they have to adjust it for me ?
Ali - 9-Feb-18 @ 1:58 PM
Hi, I'm working on a large contract for a very large company. I am disabled (as concurred by occupational health) and presently unable to drive: my work role has so far been adjusted to accommodate this. The work on the contract is winding down and was told in December that either myself or a colleague on the same grade would be redeployed to a relatively local contract. There was no consultation about the situation. It was announced in January that my colleague would go to the local contract and that my release date from the contract is end of June. June is fast approaching and I've not heard anything from management or HR despite asking. There are no other local jobs in my field within the company. There do not appear to be any other vacancies nearby that I can do. I applied for a local job in the company and was told that none of the applicants were suitable as they wanted someone (different to the job description) with a much broader range of skills - that position is still being advertised as vacant. I fear I will be made redundant. Others will be either redeployed in the company or made redundant, but HR are ambiguous as to how many people that will be; people are being removed from the project in dribs and drabs so is hard to say how many are going and thus if the 45 day consultation period applies or not. I don't know what to do next or how I should be consulted.
Katie - 27-Apr-17 @ 4:14 PM
Geoff - Your Question:
I have worked at a hotel for the last 14 years ,I have arthritis in both knees I do maintenance work which involves painting decorating /plumbing /electrical repairs/ and general repairs ,two years ago my hours were cut from 40 to 30 hours and I was given a new contract now they are going to cut my hours to 16 they are cost cutting and have cut others hours but not as sever as mine ,I feel they are trying to push me out because of my disability , when they cut my hours before they said they wanted to cut my hours from 40-16 but I told them this was constructive dismissal and if I had to do 16 hours I could not pay my mortgage so they cut them to 30 , I do all the work asked of me ,since I told them I was disabled and getting pip they have made no adjustments to my work now all of a sudden I've been told they have a duty of care to me and worrie when I climb ladders but they have never worried before , I am 60 and they will put me at a massive disadvantage work in this area is scarce and at 60 with a disability I probably won't find a job. Can you please advise me on which way to turn.thank you

Our Response:
Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety and employment law, as well as the common law duty of care - please see link here. However, on the other side of the coin, if you think your hours are being reduced less by a cost-cutting measure and more through a strategic/discriminatory motive, then you would be better to speak to ACAS directly to see whether you have a case.
RedundancyExpert - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:14 PM
I have worked at a hotel for the last 14 years ,I have arthritis in both knees I do maintenance work which involves painting decorating /plumbing /electrical repairs/ and general repairs ,two years ago my hours were cut from 40 to 30 hours and i was given a new contract now they are going to cut my hours to 16 they are cost cutting and have cut others hours but not as sever as mine ,I feel they are trying to push me out because of my disability , when they cut my hours before they said they wanted to cut my hours from 40-16 but I told them this was constructive dismissal and if I had to do 16 hours I could not pay my mortgage so they cut them to 30 , I do all the work asked of me ,since I told them I was disabled and getting pip they have made no adjustments to my work now all of a sudden I've been told they have a duty of care to me and worrie when I climb ladders but they have never worried before , I am 60 and they will put me at a massive disadvantage work in this area is scarce and at 60 with a disability I probably won't find a job . Can you please advise me on which way to turn .thank you
Geoff - 25-Apr-17 @ 1:33 PM
I have worked for the same company for nearly 13 years and the last 3 as part time from home due to becoming disabled (20 hrs) per week.The company is going through restructuring and laying off 100's.My post disappeared and I was informed that I was to be made redundant by email 1 day before my 3rd individual consultation. The next day I was told to rip up my letter and await a further meeting. During the meeting they said oh we listened to your question of being disable etc etc and have a post for you.However there was a down side and that was to drop down a level, receive a pay cut and carry out extra work but also retain some of the things I used to do.This extra work was carried out by someone who is now due to be promoted to my existing level and I essentially take his level and pay.Is this fair that I am being blackmailed into basically doing a 1 for 1 swap and losing out on my management level pay?.I feel sick and what it is doing for my health is just increasing matters and feel that if I say no that I will lose my redundancy payment.
Help Needed - 3-Dec-16 @ 7:32 AM
I have worked for the same company for nearly 13 years and the last 3 as part time from home due to becoming disabled (20 hrs) per week.The company is going through restructuring and laying off 100's.My post disappeared and I was informed that I was to be made redundant by email 1 day before my 3rd individual consultation. The next day I was told to rip up my letter and await a further meeting. During the meeting they said oh we listened to your question of being disable etc etc and have a post for you.However there was a down side and that was to drop down a level, receive a pay cut and carry out extra work but also retain some of the things I used to do.This extra work was carried out by someone who is now due to be promoted to my existing level and I essentially take his level and pay.Is this fair that I am being blackmailed into basically doing a 1 for 1 swap and losing out on my management level pay?.I feel sick and what it is doing for my health is just increasing matters and feel that if I say no that I will lose my redundancy payment.
Help Needed - 3-Dec-16 @ 7:12 AM
I am due a consultation meeting on Monday with HR and one other person who I believe to be my peer, although the company are now saying he operates at a higher level, which I still dispute as we both reported into the same manager. Is this correct - do I have a right to insist on this person not being there?
Razor - 21-Jul-16 @ 1:58 PM
My company unemployed my services after 10years of service,under medical retirement.I was only given 16days holiday money which was due to me.can I seek advise was I not entitled to some sort of redundancy package?
Trike107 - 29-Dec-15 @ 5:27 PM
My employer admits that my permanent contract given over 2 years ago should have been a fixed term contract and now that the funding for the project I manage is ending, they will terminate my contract and offer me redundancy. However, my job has morphed and I am now currently developing the product I manage and seeking funding to develop it further. Should I gain funding that takes the project over my redundancy date they say they will still terminate my contract and consider an other contractthough this is not an entitlement. My immediate boss supervises me and will I assume take over the project in what ever state it might be, when I leave. My CEO has sent me an advert for a job she things suits me, although it is far beneath my qualification and skills and I felt was sent so that I might resign earlier and save the charity some money! My contract will be terminated in March 2016. I'm not sure this is a fair redundancy.
Tap - 29-Sep-15 @ 8:02 AM
Fraggle - Your Question:
Hello, Last month my employer announced redundancies effecting my team, and we are now awaiting their final decision.During consultations, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for redundancy, and was told that if I didn't volunteer, but was selected for redundancy, I would have to work some/all of my notice period, whereas volunteers would not have to work any of it.After viewing the proposed changes to my team, especially the shift patterns, it seemed clear to me that, due to disabilities, I wouldn't be able to cope with the new structure - the only part-time post was for 18 hours over 2 days, and due to fatigue, I struggle to work even a 6 hour shift. I currently work 16 hours over 3 days. When I asked over the flexibility of the proposed hours, I was told that they were not set in stone, but the needs of the business dictated they be similar to the proposal.Given that I don't think I would 'fit' into the new structure, I felt/feel it very likely I will be made redundant. Given that, I felt pressured into volunteering, else be penalised by having to work my notice period. It seems wrong that they can use the volunteering process to manipulate people.However, my main question is regarding the redundancy payment. I have worked at the company 12 years (13 once you include the notice period). I started as a full time employee in full health, but after about 5 years, my health began to decline. I gradually cut my hour's as my health dictated, first to 30 hours a week, then 18 hours, and I now work 16 hours a week.My redundancy payment has been calculated based on these 16 hours. So my question is this - because I have only reduced my hours because of disability, is there any DDA-type law which will make my employer take my time worked as a full-time employee into account when calculating my redundancy payment? Any information/advice you can offer would be appreciated.

Our Response:
Due to the length and complexity of this question, I suggest you speak with ACAS directly about this, see link here. I would also check over your contract to see your company's disability legislation. However, your redundancy will be based upon the hours you are contracted to.
RedundancyExpert - 19-Aug-15 @ 9:58 AM
Hello, Last month my employer announced redundancies effecting my team, and we are now awaiting their final decision. During consultations, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for redundancy, and was told that if I didn't volunteer, but was selected for redundancy, I would have to work some/all of my notice period, whereas volunteers would not have to work any of it. After viewing the proposed changes to my team, especially the shift patterns, it seemed clear to me that, due to disabilities,I wouldn't be able to cope with the new structure - the only part-time post was for 18 hours over 2 days, and due to fatigue, I struggle to work even a 6 hour shift. I currently work 16 hours over 3 days. When I asked over the flexibility of the proposed hours, I was told that they were not set in stone, but the needs of the business dictated they be similar to the proposal. Given that I don't think I would 'fit' into the new structure, I felt/feel it very likely I will be made redundant. Given that, I felt pressured into volunteering, else be penalised by having to work my notice period. It seems wrong that they can use the volunteering process to manipulate people. However, my main question is regarding the redundancy payment. I have worked at the company 12 years (13 once you include the notice period). I started as a full time employee in full health, but after about 5 years, my health began to decline. I gradually cut my hour's as my health dictated, first to 30 hours a week, then 18 hours, and I now work 16 hours a week. My redundancy payment has been calculated based on these 16 hours. So my question is this - because I have only reduced my hours because of disability, is there any DDA-type law which will make my employer take my time worked as a full-time employee into account when calculating my redundancy payment? Any information/advice you can offer would be appreciated.
Fraggle - 18-Aug-15 @ 3:00 AM
@Skippy - it sounds like you need to speak to someone directly for some advice on the best way forward. You can give Acas a call via the link here. I hope this helps.
RedundancyExpert - 24-Feb-15 @ 2:22 PM
Off work with bad ACL injury, 8weeks now waiting on operation. Work had a group discussion on the 6.1.15 saying business not doing Togo possible redundancies, that week they got rid of a youngster and bosses wife she was part time double our wage though. My job accounts clerk only I new how todo the job apart from the boss knowing bits and pieces, the boss started to show girls in the sales team my job, I have had 2 consultations and each time they asking what I do and taking notes and I can not walk but they insisted I go for meeting, just received another letter saying my job been is being made redundant as other girls now doing it, and all of a sudden they say I can choose a venue? I have been with this company for over 20 years. They say 3 off us up for redundancy me and the 2 girls in the sales office 1 off us has to go but got a text of 1 off them last month saying the 2 of them have a job for life. I am so confused blood pressure through the roof I need advice on what to say on today 27.2.15
Skippy - 22-Feb-15 @ 10:47 AM
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