Thursday, 03 August 2017

Can my employer make me redundant?

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It is a stressful and anxious time for any employee when their employer decides to embark on a redundancy or restructuring exercise. This is even more difficult if you are the employee or one of the employees who has been identified as “at risk” of redundancy. Being told “it is not personal” doesn't help. Even if that is true of your employer, the decisions which affect your family, your home and your career are personal to you.

All redundancy processes will involve some type of consultation. Often this will take the form of a meeting with your employer. Always attend consultation meetings and use them to raise any concerns you have about the redundancy process. The types of questions you ask. or representations you make, will depend upon your personal situation. However, I set out below some of the more common types of queries raised:-

Is this a genuine redundancy?
This argument is used often (but by no means exclusively) when you are the only person at risk of redundancy. You may be of the view that there is no need for a reduction of staffing at all and you are being targeted for reasons wholly unrelated to any genuine restructure or redundancy. You should be ready to challenge your employer about the need for redundancies. Ask why, why now, what are they hoping the redundancy will achieve, what will happen to your duties and responsibilities, what alternatives have they considered etc. Make sure your concerns are known, make sure you obtain a response from your employer to your questions and that there is a record of any evidence you present contradicting their answers.

Is the pool of employees “at risk” of redundancy identified correctly?
Essentially, if your employer has identified a number of people from which they intend to select some employees to be made redundant, you want to be sure that the correct people are in the pool. Challenge your employer as to how they selected the employees involved. Identify those you believe should have been included but were not. Challenge your inclusion in the pool of employees at risk.

Is there an unfair procedure or selection criteria?
This argument is often used if there is a genuine redundancy situation and the pool of employees has been correctly identified, but there is a flaw in the procedure or selection process which would render any resulting redundancy unreasonable or unfair. Is the process discriminatory? Has too much weighting been given to some scores rather than others? Ask your employer why they have chosen the selection criteria they have.

Are you being unfairly selected for redundancy?
This argument is often used in situations where there is some scoring of employees within the selection process. You may feel unhappy about your scores or the person who will be doing the scoring.

Has the selection criteria been applied fairly to you?
The above is not an exhaustive list and there may be other issues or concerns you may have about your proposed redundancy. It is important that you use the consultation meetings to set out those concerns and obtain a response from your employer. After all, if there is a genuine redundancy situation and they are following a fair procedure, they should have no difficulty in answering your questions.

If you are going through a redundancy process, please call us on 01522 539501. You are under no obligation and you will not be charged for your enquiry. Alternatively, visit our website at for more information.

Sally Hubbard,
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
LincsLaw Solicitors, Lincoln

Sally Hubbard

Sally is a Lincolnshire girl through and through and has lived in Lincoln her whole life (apart from a brief spell when she went to university in Nottingham, but we don’t talk about that). She began her career with Lincolnshire County Council qualifying as a solicitor in 1996, which she believes now makes her "vintage".

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