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Unfair Redundancy and What to do

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 16 Jun 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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[Add a Comment]
@Steve - even if you would have known - it wouldn't mean you would have been given VR, so I don't think there is much you can do.
DavidB - 18-Jun-18 @ 11:34 AM
I have recently left my job of 20 years due to being unhappy with a role they put me in. Before I left I asked my boss there was any chance of voluntary redundancy and was told ‘NO’, however a month after leaving my whole department has been offered VR. They would have known about this when I asked before deciding to leave. Would I be entitled to any compensation ?
Steve - 16-Jun-18 @ 5:06 PM
GTIK - Your Question:
I have been in employment for 14 months and on Monday I was given advanced warning of risk of redundancy. I was told it was because the company needed to streamline. However they are still actively advertising for other positions within the company. My manager has already spoken to my staff and told them their jobs are safe the only person leaving is myself. My consultation period is still in progress and when I last spoke with him it was yet undetermined if I would be made redundant this is obviously not true. I strongly believe this is unfair dismissal and not redundancy but not sure how to prove this. None of the supporting managers or owners are speaking to me but I have no idea why , I feel that I am being treated unfairly as it feels personal rather than professional. What can I do?

Our Response:
If your job is being made redundant, but your employer is advertising for other positions then your employer should actively investigate the possibility of suitable alternative employment for you. Please see link here, which will explain more. It sounds as though you may wish to speak to your employer directly regarding this matter.
RedundancyExpert - 14-Jun-18 @ 11:28 AM
I have been in employment for 14 months and on Monday I was given advanced warning of risk of redundancy. I was told it was because the company needed to streamline. However they are still actively advertising for other positions within the company. My manager has already spoken to my staff and told them their jobs are safe the only person leaving is myself. My consultation period is still in progress and when I last spoke with him it was yet undetermined if I would be made redundant this is obviously not true. I strongly believe this is unfair dismissal and not redundancy but not sure how to prove this . None of the supporting managers or owners are speaking to me but I have no idea why , I feel that I am being treated unfairly as it feels personal rather than professional . What can I do?
GTIK - 13-Jun-18 @ 6:45 PM
Sleepflower - Your Question:
Earlier this year I was in a pool for redundancy. There was a handful of alternative roles available, I applied and was offered a new role. It transpires that the manager has not been entirely honest with what the new role entails. He omitted that I would be required to work late at night sometimes, work on different teams etc. I feel he was dishonest with me to keep me within the business. Now I hate my job and am full of resentment. If I had been made aware of what this new role entailed, I would have accepted my redundancy. I have had virtually zero training for any new tasks that are now my responsibility either. The 13 week redundancy period ended mid-January. As I was misled, is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here. You should also read the terms of your new contract which should lay out your options, if you are trialling the new job.
RedundancyExpert - 12-Jun-18 @ 1:53 PM
Earlier this year I was in a pool for redundancy. There was a handful of alternative roles available, I applied and was offered a new role. It transpires that the manager has not been entirely honest with what the new role entails. He omitted that I would be required to work late at night sometimes, work on different teams etc... I feel he was dishonest with me to keep me within the business. Now I hate my job and am full of resentment. If I had been made aware of what this new role entailed, I would have accepted my redundancy. I have had virtually zero training for any new tasks that are now my responsibility either. The 13 week redundancy period ended mid-January. As I was misled, is there anything I can do?
Sleepflower - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:32 PM
@Teena6767 - it's fair if your employer decides they want to lose the jobs from your particular region. I hope you find another job soon.
AnnaM - 11-Jun-18 @ 11:36 AM
I am in a selection pool for redundancy with 3 other employees.my issue is there are 2 more employees that does the same job as those in the selection pool but are not being made redundant. The reason for redundancy is the lose of work which I understand but the work lose is across the region which has effected all of use not just the 4 in the pool. The job everyone can do which ever region we lose the employees. There is 2 positions for redundancy. Is this fair and legal.
Teena6767 - 9-Jun-18 @ 12:05 PM
I may be made redundant and offered a job at a lower position will my salarystay the same
Dom - 28-May-18 @ 6:26 PM
Hi there. I’m looking for some advice please. Having worked for my company for 14 years and in my current role for 10 years, with consistent good performance, I have been told that my role has become redundant due to a restructure. There are currently three roles in my team, which are filled with permanent members of staff but there are also 2 on maternity leave. I have had some issues in the recent past where my role is graded at one level but I can demonstrate that I am working at a higher level. I have been denied promotion despite doing a very similar role to another member of the team who is graded higher. The returning mat leaver is coming back into the team to take over my role. She is a grade higher and they have decided to restructure the team to only have roles at the higher grade so they are saying my role is redundant. However they have said they aren’t making me redundant and my job is safe until they can find a new role for me. However I have been asking for a new role for some time and nothing is available to match my skills and requirements. And there still isn’t. I don’t trust that there will be anything forthcoming as there are at least 2 people on mat leave that they need to consider ahead of me. As a consequence I feel I have been demoted in my current role - for personal as well as structural reasons - and I’m seeking advice as to what I can ask for. They haven’t offered me redundancy - saying they want to spare me the stress and will look for something internal. But I would like to know whether I have the right to ask for redundancy - or even demand - given that I am not being offered any choices at this time and I feel like I’m being managed out of the business. That they are making my role untenable and forcing me to leave. What are my rights and how should I build my case? Many thanks
Clouds - 26-May-18 @ 1:03 PM
Wonder if you advise, last week my manager advised that my job was under threat of redundancy due to a downturn in business and advised that I should seek employment else where.I have been with my current employer for 2yrs and have always exceed my appraisals.My manager has since resigned and the director's have came due to his departure and have advised me that my job was never under threat at all and they have no knowledge whatsoever why my ex manager has behaved in this manner.So as its stands I was coerced into handing my notice, leave my job that I love and start afresh with a new company.I believe I have grounds for my soon to be ex employer for breaching hr procedures and unfair treatment even though they didn't know my ex manager was responsible for the business in our depot.Please can some advise my next step and do I have any ground to hold my employer responsible for my unfair treatment???
Bigrobbo - 22-May-18 @ 8:55 PM
Nina - Your Question:
I was made redundant on the 25th March this year, after being told by my boss on the 22nd March that he was closing the business. When I asked about redundancy pay I was just told that I would have to claim it from the government which I understand you can only do if the business is insolvent. It's been over a month now and I still have not heard anything in regards to the business being insolvent, and after contacting the insolvency enquiry line I was told they have no record of them going through insolvency proceedings. I now feel completely stuck on what to do next in order to get what I am owed, I was an employee their for almost 6 years and feel that myself and the rest of the staff have been dealt with unfairly. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
The legal obligation for redundancy payments lies with your former employer. In this case, you may wish to give Acas a call to find out your rights. If your employer refuses to pay and has not been declared insolvent, then you can take it to an employment tribunal (there is a six-month time limit for applications from the date your job ended).
RedundancyExpert - 1-May-18 @ 1:49 PM
I was made redundant on the 25th March this year, after being told by my boss on the 22nd March that he was closing the business. When I asked about redundancy pay I was just told that I would have to claim it from the government which I understand you can only do if the business is insolvent. It's been over a month now and I still have not heard anything in regards to the business being insolvent, and after contacting the insolvency enquiry line I was told they have no record of them going through insolvency proceedings. I now feel completely stuck on what to do next in order to get what I am owed, I was an employee their for almost 6 years and feel that myself and the rest of the staff have been dealt with unfairly. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Nina - 30-Apr-18 @ 12:15 PM
Itch - Your Question:
I was made redundant and a couple months later my job was advertised, but as a junior role. basically I was removed because I was on a high wage, the role was never ever redundant in itself, its too important to the company. Acas are utterly useless, they dont give any advice at all. I asked them about time scales and even to that question they said they couldnt answer it because they have to be impartial. which made no sense at all. Can my employer make me redundant and then get past it by putting "junior" in the job title??

Our Response:
A tribunal will look at whether: there was a genuine need to make redundancies in your workplace, your employer followed a fair procedure for consulting the workforce and selecting people for redundancy. Plus, the decision to select you was fair and your employer made reasonable efforts to find you alternative employment elsewhere in the company. You can see more regarding this via the CAB link here. If you think your employer didn't follow this process and you had worked for the company for more than two years, you can see at the bottom of the page how to go about making a claim for unfair dismissal.
RedundancyExpert - 26-Apr-18 @ 10:54 AM
I was made redundant and a couple months later my job was advertised, but as a junior role. basically i was removed because i was on a high wage, the role was never ever redundant in itself, its too important to the company. Acas are utterly useless, they dont give any advice at all. I asked them about time scales and even to that question they said they couldnt answer it because they have to be impartial. which made no sense at all. Can my employer make me redundant and then get past it by putting "junior" in the job title??
Itch - 25-Apr-18 @ 12:16 PM
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
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