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Unfair Redundancy and What to do

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 7 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Redundancy Employer Complaint Unfair

Redundancies frequently give rise to disputes between employers and their former employees. One of the circumstances which can give rise to dispute is called unfair dismissal.

Failure to Follow Proper Redundancy Procedure

A redundancy will always be considered unfair if the employer has not followed the procedure laid down in the law for carrying it out. For example, if more than 20 people are being made redundant at once, the employer is supposed to engage in collective consultation. Failure to do that would make the redundancies automatically unfair.

Unfair Dismissal

Apart from procedural violations, unfair dismissal exists when an employer tells one or more employees that they will lose their jobs because of redundancy, but, in reality, that is not the real reason. In this case, redundancy is being used as a pretext for something else. The real reasons behind an unfair dismissal can vary enormously. Some common ones include :
  • Prejudice against you because of your age, sex, race or religion.
  • Personal dislike.
  • Unhappiness with your job performance. (In fact this is a valid reason for dismissing someone from a job but there are set procedures an employer should go through, including warnings about your performance and so forth, before the dismissal takes place. An unscrupulous employer may wish to evade these.)
  • Pregnancy.
  • Asserting your statutory rights, for example by asking your employer for a written statement of your responsibilities.
  • Being a member of a trade union or a representative of your fellow employees in some other form.

How to Tell if a Redundancy is Unfair

It is not always easy to tell if a redundancy is unfair. If your employer or manager has made prejudicial remarks to you over time, referring to your race or religion, for example, obviously that would provide a good indication that something else may lie behind your dismissal.

Typically, in redundancies, several people will be made redundant at the same time. If you are the only one who is made redundant, that, too, may provide an indication that something is amiss, although there are times when this can be justified.

Although we speak of this or that person being made redundant, it is more correct to say that a person’s job is being made redundant, rather than the individual. In genuine redundancies, the employer no longer needs the relevant job functions to be performed. If, therefore, other people within the organisation do the same job as you, but are not made redundant, this might give an indication that the redundancy is unfair. Of course, there also are cases where an employer still needs a job to be done, just not to the same extent as before, so some people doing the job may have to be let go. In this case, the criteria for those who are to be made redundant should be clearly explained to you during the redundancy process, and those criteria should be objectively-based.

A clear sign that the redundancy is unfair is if, after you are terminated from the position, someone else is recruited to fill it.

Unfair Dismissal – Protection and Redress

Unfortunately, not everyone is protected from unfair dismissal. In general, only those with one year of service with their employer are protected legally. However, if the reason for dismissal involves certain kinds of discrimination, this restriction does not apply.

If your case falls within the scope of the law, you can take your complaint about unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal. You must do so within three months of your employment ending. Once the procedure begins, the burden will be on your employer to demonstrate that your dismissal was fair. If unfairness is proved, the remedies available range from reinstating you in your job to forcing your employer to pay financial compensation to you for having lost it. Further details about the complaint procedure are given in articles elsewhere on this site.

Unfair Dismissal – Conclusion

Bad employers use redundancy as a way of getting rid of employees they don’t like. Fortunately, legal remedies exist to deter or punish them for doing so.

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Anon- Your Question:
I have been suffering with mental health problems lately (less than 12 months) and have not been diagnosed formally. I have been open to my manager and colleagues about these issues. I have been signed off work by my GP twice in two months due to mental health issues and have recently applied for more time off which was granted (unpaid sabbatical). My manager has told me she plans to restructure my team during my sabbatical so that other people will pick up my work while I am away, but this structure will be made permanent on my return, making my role redundant. Nobody else is being made redundant in this process. Is this a case of potential discrimination or unfair dismissal and what are my rights ? Further, my manager says I may choose to do a more junior role which is vacant within my team on my return - can this be considered “suitable alternative”? When would “bumping” be considered a suitable alternative ? Thanks

Our Response:
If you have been with your company for more than two years, please see the link here , which will tell you all you need to know. Your manager can only change your contract if you agree to the changes. In this case, it may be advisable to give Acas a call to speak with someone directly and find out for sure, as there are too many variables to answer here.
RedundancyExpert - 20-Apr-18 @ 3:04 PM
Moo - Your Question:
I have been told that I am to be made redundant and am now on my notice period. This is as a result of a remodeling exercise. My current post is unique.I'm intending to appeal on the basis that the work that I have been doing is to be done by a new post in the structure - the work and responsibilities are the same, as is the pay grade, but the job description and person specification have been rewritten, with there now being a qualification requirement that I don't meet being added. This qualification requirement is being identified as the reason that I can't have the job - the reason for introducing the qualification has been challenged and my employer can offer no substantial reason for its introduction. I have had a sometimes difficult relationship with the manager who is responsible for the remodelling exercise, and, despite approaching them to seek feedback and query if they have issues with my performance, they have simply responded to say that "it's nothing personal" although when I pushed a little I was told that I have an attitude problem along with a couple of other similar comments, none of which were justified with examples - they were all in essence about the manager's personal opinion of me.Any advice greatly appreciated - my employer also has a grievance policy, and I'm thinking that I should submit one alongside my appeal?

Our Response:
You don't say how long you have been in the position. In this case, I recommend giving Acas a call who will tell you directly as to whether you have any rights. You can see more unfair dismissal v redundancy via the CAB link here, which may also help answer your question.
RedundancyExpert - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:33 PM
I have been told that I am to be made redundant and am now on my notice period.This is as a result of a remodeling exercise.My current post is unique. I'm intending to appeal on the basis that the work that I have been doing is to be done by a new post in the structure - the work and responsibilities are the same, as is the pay grade, but the job description and person specification have been rewritten, with there now being a qualification requirement that I don't meet being added.This qualification requirement is being identified as the reason that I can't have the job - the reason for introducing the qualification has been challenged and my employer can offer no substantial reason for its introduction.I have had a sometimes difficult relationship with the manager who is responsible for the remodelling exercise, and, despite approaching them to seek feedback and query if they have issues with my performance, they have simply responded to say that "it's nothing personal" although when I pushed a little I was told that I have an attitude problem along with a couple of other similar comments, none of which were justified with examples - they were all in essence about the manager's personal opinion of me. Any advice greatly appreciated - my employer also has a grievance policy, and I'm thinking that I should submit one alongside my appeal?
Moo - 7-Apr-18 @ 9:19 PM
I have been suffering with mental health problems lately (less than 12 months) and have not been diagnosed formally. I have been open to my manager and colleagues about these issues. I have been signed off work by my GP twice in two months due to mental health issues and have recently applied for more time off which was granted (unpaid sabbatical). My manager has told me she plans to restructure my team during my sabbatical so that other people will pick up my work while I am away, but this structure will be made permanent on my return, making my role redundant. Nobody else is being made redundant in this process. Is this a case of potential discrimination or unfair dismissal and what are my rights ? Further, my manager says I may choose to do a more junior role which is vacant within my team on my return - can this be considered “suitable alternative”? When would “bumping” be considered a suitable alternative ? Thanks
Anon - 6-Apr-18 @ 12:12 PM
Rdant - Your Question:
My employer is a big multisite company with a robust process in place for redundancy. However my immediate line manger has made multiple mistakes with the process and not followed it correctly. Included within this was failure to hold consultations on the dates scheduled, failure to capture information on my mobility before decisions were made, and failure to complete the paperwork - doing so at a much later date. Would this give me course to claim unfair dismissal

Our Response:
If you think your employer has not followed a fair process, or you feel you have been targeted unfairly, then you might be able to claim unfair dismissal at a tribunal. It is advisable to give ACAS a call in order to fully explore your rights.
RedundancyExpert - 5-Apr-18 @ 1:45 PM
My employer is a big multisite company with a robust process in place for redundancy. However my immediate line manger has made multiple mistakes with the process and not followed it correctly. Included within this was failure to hold consultations on the dates scheduled, failure to capture information on my mobility before decisions were made, and failure to complete the paperwork - doing so at a much later date. Would this give me course to claim unfair dismissal
Rdant - 1-Apr-18 @ 6:39 PM
Anonymous- Your Question:
I have recently been made redundant, I have in writing how much I am owed however I have recently received a email with the amount I’m due, which is £300 less than what my letter states. What am I able to do about this?

Our Response:
You would have to bring this up with your employer directly.
RedundancyExpert - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:02 PM
I have recently been made redundant, I have in writing how much I am owed however I have recently received a email with the amount I’m due, which is £300 less than what my letter states. What am I able to do about this?
Anonymous - 20-Mar-18 @ 9:40 PM
Last year in october I completed a graduate programme with my current employer and was given the position and contract for customer service manager. A month later our systems manager left and as I had a lot of knowledge in this area was asked to oversee it and another manager took over my duties. I did not however receive a new contract. Last month I was informed that the position of systems manager was being made redundant and I was being placed at risk as I was the systems manager. Can they still do this despite never issuing me with a new contract? Left this under the wrong topic! Apologies for the repeat.
Ash - 10-Mar-18 @ 6:12 PM
String - Your Question:
My role is at risk and I am in consultation. Part of the role has been taken over by group. But 85% of the remaining role is being passed to my direct report and another employee. So this work still needs to be done. Is this a fair redundancy situation?

Our Response:
In addition to the information in the article, you can see more via the link here , which should help answer your question.
RedundancyExpert - 9-Mar-18 @ 3:50 PM
My role is at risk and I am in consultation.Part of the role has been taken over by group.But 85% of the remaining role is being passed to my direct report and another employee.So this work still needs to be done.Is this a fair redundancy situation?
String - 9-Mar-18 @ 2:23 PM
Help - Your Question:
My employer is possibly looking to have redundancies but what I want to know isIf a nightshift worker accepts a voluntary redundancy can a worker from another shift ie back shift or early etc be forced on to the shift that's had a VR.

Our Response:
This would have to be negotiated directly with your employer. Much depends on why redundancies are being made and whether contracts may be changed as a result. You may also wish to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see whether there is a clause in it that allows your employer is to change your shift pattern.
RedundancyExpert - 6-Mar-18 @ 2:03 PM
My employer is possibly looking to have redundancies but what i want to know is If a nightshift worker accepts a voluntary redundancy can a worker from another shift ie back shift or early etc be forced on to the shift that's had a VR.
Help - 6-Mar-18 @ 1:10 AM
Hi there In november 2017 i was told that my work had lost my contracted work but not to worry as i work on a tupe contract therefore i will follow the work and feel they were fobbing me off as in january 2018 we found out that the new employers of the contract would not take us on i wrnt to see my manager and adked about redundancy to he told point blank that under no circumstance was they paying any redundancy due to the tupe contract this worried me ad i was told i eould be out of work from the 16th feb 2018 with no redundancy pay out therefore i attentedvan interview with anothee employer got the job so tedigned to find out just 3 weeks down the line that they lued to me and are now paing out redundancy do i have any right to still claim my redundancy becausenivresigned 3weeks ago to wirk elsewere which their is no way i would have done this if it ment loising my redundancy and feel ive been missled and totaly lied to and let down
Tracy - 18-Feb-18 @ 10:23 PM
DesperateDad - Your Question:
The business I worked for announced a number of us were subject to redundancy due to restructuring. I accepted this and didnt want to work under the new structure leaving with my redundancy pay in October. Some of my colleagues contested this and new information has come to light since then. Essentially, the general manager wanted to change some of the management team but was not strong enough to do this within the law so manipulated the redundancy process to ensure the people who left were people he disliked. The business has since operated with the same structure with deputys stepping up to cover and now adverts for the exact jobs those of us who were forced out did have been advertised. It is clear that the whole restructure was misleading and untruthful. They have been careful to ensure 3 months had passed before placing these adverts which pushes us outside the range of time to lodge a complaint via an employment tribunal. Is this an acceptable practice or would myself and my colleagues have recourse to challenge them on the basis that they have lied about a restructure and therefore deliberately misled us in order to employ direct replacements on lower salaries.

Our Response:
The CAB link here may help answer your question. However, you may also wish to speak directly to ACAS regarding this issue to see whether you have a case to answer.
RedundancyExpert - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:58 AM
The business I worked for announced a number of us were subject to redundancy due to restructuring. I accepted this and didnt want to work under the new structure leaving with my redundancy pay in October. Some of my colleagues contested this and new information has come to light since then. Essentially, the general manager wanted to change some of the management team but was not strong enough to do this within the law so manipulated the redundancy process to ensure the people who left were people he disliked. The business has since operated with the same structure with deputys stepping up to cover and now adverts for the exact jobs those of us who were forced out did have been advertised. It is clear that the whole restructure was misleading and untruthful. They have been careful to ensure 3 months had passed before placing these adverts which pushes us outside the range of time to lodge a complaint via an employment tribunal. Is this an acceptable practice or would myself and my colleagues have recourse to challenge them on the basis that they have lied about a restructure and therefore deliberately misled us in order to employ direct replacements on lower salaries.
DesperateDad - 15-Feb-18 @ 4:51 PM
@Anony Mouse - if the department that you are referring to is closing down, then it makes sense that redundancies from this location will take place, as all jobs will disappear. The other two offices are in different locations presumably and their jobs aren't at risk.
RichardB - 15-Feb-18 @ 2:26 PM
Hi, I work for a large company and the department I work in has three offices in different areas of the UK. These three offices usually try and work with customers in their general area but depending on workload, contracts are moved between offices. The company has previously referred to these multiple offices as a single design department. All three offices have generally the same mix of engineers, designers, etc. doing the same type of work. The company has now announced that they are closing the department in office "A" with the loss of all 25 jobs because of a downturn in work from our closest customer and have given us a 45 day consultation period. The company has said that there will be no redundancies from the other two offices as they still have work. As the company has previously treated the 3 offices as one department, can they legally put all the employees in one office at risk of redundancy without also including the employees in the other offices who do the same jobs?
Anony Mouse - 13-Feb-18 @ 6:10 PM
fataktor - Your Question:
Hi, Sorry I posted the following under the wrong topic:I just got promoted from a Junior position lets say "Junior Admin" role to the regular role say "Admin". Now, last week my boss and a HR personnel called me and my colleague in and informed us that our job "Admin" is in risk of redundancy and so the consultancy period has started. The thing is my job role is still technically "Junior Admin" as it is still in process in the system. Do you think I can challenge it? If only to extend the process by the amount of time they are making an adjustment or something. Nicest promotion ever. It is not even finalized but they make me (the position.) redundant. Many thanks!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. It really doesn't make any difference whether your job role is considered 'admin' or 'junior admin', your position still may have been at risk of redundancy. It sounds like it is a case of bad timing. However, just because your job is at risk of redundancy, it doesn't mean you will face redundancy.
RedundancyExpert - 13-Feb-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hi, Sorry I posted the following under the wrong topic: I just got promoted from a Junior position lets say "Junior Admin" role to the regular role say "Admin". Now, last week my boss and a HR personnel called me and my colleague in and informed us that our job "Admin" is in risk of redundancy and so the consultancy period has started. The thing is my job role is still technically "Junior Admin" as it is still in process in the system. Do you think I can challenge it? If only to extend the process by the amount of time they are making an adjustment or something. Nicest promotion ever. It is not even finalized but they make me (the position...) redundant. Many thanks!
fataktor - 13-Feb-18 @ 12:37 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Following being scored on redundancy I have noticed that my scores were taken from an apraisal a year old. When the colleagues I am fighting against for my job were taken 6 months ago. Is this fair ? I feel 6 months ago my scoring would have been different rather than a year

Our Response:
You would have to bring this matter up with your employer directly, if you think this method of appraisal is unfair. You can see more via the link here .
RedundancyExpert - 12-Feb-18 @ 2:13 PM
Following being scored on redundancy i have noticed that my scores were taken from an apraisal a year old. When the colleagues i am fighting against for my job were taken 6 months ago . Is this fair ? I feel 6 months ago my scoring would have been different rather than a year
Lou - 11-Feb-18 @ 9:30 PM
I have been with my company 18 years. My job has always been the same but with different titles. However in 2016 my job description & title changed. In 2017 I met with my manager who changed my job back to original job & was sorting it out with HR. I am now at risk of redundancy & will need to apply for my existing job with the job title we agreed in 2017 it was just not formalised by my manager & our HR Dept. Can they do this?
Skidley - 4-Feb-18 @ 7:11 PM
Hi I am a manager of a fabrication company I have been off sick the past7 weeks due to infectiousaccebationof asthma I have been off work twice previouslyover 2 year and 8 month each time I have been hospitalisedI have returned to work to receive a letter of redundancyI belie it is because of my sickness that this as comeabout as i am the only one being made redundantI suffer from addisons disease which they where told of on the day I was employed by them the position is not being redundant but going to be run by another manager that works for this company whats my rights to appeal for unfair dismissal
Robbo - 31-Jan-18 @ 2:20 PM
hi, I'm at risk of redundancy currently and have been told there are 3 people within my department who will be made redundant. Am I able to ask who these people are so I know whether it could be an unfair dismissal or not? There are only 2 of us who do the role that we do so if they are keeping the other person on, that could be considered unfair.
Joy - 29-Jan-18 @ 11:32 AM
Hi. I worked for the same company for 9 years. November 17 they announced a restructuring of corporate side of the business and the current job I am in would be changing in job title and with extra elements to it. We were giving the option to apply for these and attend interviews for them. 2 of us decided we would not apply due to the extra work load and accepted the redundancy. They have filled these positions with 2 others from another department that was significantly cut in size. Following on with meetings to discuss process mapping it has become clear that the role we currently do is a demanding role and there is no capacity for extra work so they are changing the job description again back to what both my colleague and I are currently doing yet we are both leaving and the new people start next week. Is this even legal?
Annoyed - 27-Jan-18 @ 10:32 AM
I have worked for a travel agent for 3plus years they have the shops in Guernsey Jersey and us in Bromley. The two shops in the Channel Islands have been taken over but not us nothing is forthcoming from the owners so we are just sitting there abta no had gone. What do we do stay or walk ?
Alfie - 26-Jan-18 @ 6:02 PM
Baker - Your Question:
Hi I have been told my job is at risk of redundancy. The problem is I work for a catering company offshore in a specific field the manager said it down to field agreement but I have and not seen the field agreement never mind signed it. Should the company send redundancy lettters to other employers other than the ones affected in the field. As I am employed bye the catering company but not the oil rig company which is closing one of there assets that is why we are at risk of redundancy.

Our Response:
Redundancy letter should only be sent to the employees who are affected. You can see what a fair redundancy process is via the link here.
RedundancyExpert - 26-Jan-18 @ 10:57 AM
Hi I have been told my job is at risk of redundancy. The problem is I work for a catering company offshore in a specific field the manager said it down to field agreement but I have and not seen the field agreement never mind signed it. Should the company send redundancy lettters to other employers other than the ones affected in the field. As I am employed bye the catering company but not the oil rig company which is closing one of there assets that is why we are at risk of redundancy.
Baker - 25-Jan-18 @ 8:17 AM
steveb - Your Question:
I Have been told I am at risk of redundancy in my job of 18 years.The Criteria was in 3 parts Absence/Experience/and Disciplinary.All of these based on history of over the previous 12 months from 14th january 2018.On 14th OCT 2016 I was given an informal verbal warning to last 3 months.This has been included in the reason to get rid of me.Is it correct.

Our Response:
Your employer should use a fair and objective way of selecting you for redundancy. Commonly used methods are: last in, first out (employees with the shortest length of service are selected first), asking for volunteers (self-selection), disciplinary records and/or staff appraisal markings, skills, qualifications and experience, you can see more via the gov.uk link here.
RedundancyExpert - 22-Jan-18 @ 10:30 AM
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