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Was My Redundancy Illegal? A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 25 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Illegal Redundancy Redundant Advice Hr

When Martin Galloway, 35, was made redundant he felt like the wind was taken out of his sails. Having worked for the same company for five years, as a business development manager, Martin felt like he had made a considerable contribution to the growing success of the company.

Martin joined the company just as it was starting up and had played a key role in building the business. As business development manager, it was Martin’s responsibility to bring in new customers, gain business and win lucrative deals. Martin had considerable success in this area and saw the company grow from a new player in the industry to a major force.

Martin was the only person from the company made redundant at that particular time and, as the business development manager, he was able to look through his targets and see where, perhaps, he may have made mistakes. It was clear from looking through his presentations and paperwork that Martin had consistently exceeded his targets for the company, winning lucrative contracts and bringing in more business than he was required to.

Building Up Confidence

Straight after he was made redundant, Martin was so floored that it took his some time to regain his confidence. It was only after he started to think about looking for new work that he spoke to his friends and family about being made redundant. One of his cousins was an HR manager and he asked Martin to tell him about the circumstances of his redundancy, including any written warnings, changes of business or changes in company ownership.

Martin then spent some time thinking about his redundancy and the situation leading up to it. Around three months before he was made redundant, the company had brought in a new member of staff with the title of ‘Commercial Manager’. This man was older than Martin and very ‘old school’ in terms of taking very long lunches on expenses with old cronies, under the guise of ‘networking’ to build business.

Martin is an openly gay man and, while he does not flaunt is sexuality at work, he does not hide it either. His new colleague would often make negative comments to Martin and, while he was never particularly vocal or cruel, he often made Martin feel uncomfortable. Martin had mentioned this to the boss, but as the boss was old friends with the new commercial manager, Martin’s cousins comments about the facts surrounding his redundancy started making more sense.

Professional Advice

Martin contacted his cousin and he explained to him that redundancy is illegal on the grounds of disability, gender, race, religion, sexuality or age. Some companies may give a more generous payout than others to encourage voluntary uptake of redundancy, and payment in lieu of notice or holidays is also common, but these issues do not override the illegality of the above grounds.

Knowing that he had performed well at work and that his issues only began after this new commercial manager joined, Martin requested a meeting with the HR manager at his old company, within three months of being made redundant. They assured him that the redundancy was due to the fact that his role was no longer required, and nothing to do with his sexuality or his performance, but Martin is still deciding whether or not to take the matter to a tribunal, even though this may be an emotional experience.

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