Redundancy: your rights

  1. Overview
  2. Being selected for redundancy
  3. Statutory redundancy pay and enhanced redundancy payments
  4. Your notice period
  5. Your consultation period
  6. Redundancy and suitable alternative employment

2. Being selected for redundancy

Broadly speaking, there are three main redundancy situations:

  1. Where the business as a whole is being closed;
  2. Where the particular workplace where the employee is working is being closed;
  3. Where there is a need to reduce the size of the workforce

An employer has a broad remit to reduce the size of its workforce – this could be, for example, because of a restructuring of the workplace, because there is a need to cut the costs of the business overall, or because a different strategy is being put in place (among other things). There need not necessarily be less work to done – the employer may have just decided to cut costs by reducing staff and making those who remain do more work. However, the employer should be able to justify the reasons for the redundancies it is making and communicate those to the employee.

Ways of selecting for redundancy

Overall, your employer must use a fair and objective means of selecting you for redundancy. Employers commonly use the following means of selecting employees for redundancy (among others):

  • Asking for volunteers (voluntary redundancy or ‘self-selection’)
  • Using the LIFO method (“last in, first out”) where employees with the shortest length of service are selected first
  • Carrying out a full redundancy procedure (ranking employees by how they score over various criteria including skills, aptitude, attitude, qualifications, and experience)

Employers do not have the obligation to carry out a full redundancy process if your job no longer exists, for example if:

  • The business as a whole is closing
  • The particular workplace in which you worked is closing and all employees in that workplace are being made redundant; or
  • You are the only employee who is working in a particular workplace / organisation structure that is being closed

How your employer may select you for redundancy

If your employer is carrying out a full redundancy procedure then the employer should generally carry out the following procedure:

  1. Construct a fair pool of employees who may be selected for redundancy
  2. Choose reasonable selection criteria (provided that these can be objectively measured and are not discriminatory)
  3. Apply the selection criteria chosen fairly and objectively

Although all employers have an obligation to carry out a fair and objective procedure, the lengths to which a Tribunal will expect employer to go in drawing up and applying criteria will depend on the employer’s size and administrative resources.

Unfair selection for redundancy

If your employer fails to follow a fair procedure in dismissing you or fails to make a fair decision to dismiss you then you may be entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal (should you have the necessary continuous employment to do so).

Further, if you are selected for redundancy for the following reasons then your dismissal may also be unfair (among others):

  • Your gender
  • Your age
  • Your disability
  • Your race
  • Your religion or philosophical belief
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your gender orientation
  • Membership or non-membership of a trade union
  • Because you have complained about health and safety in the workplace
  • Because you have made a protected disclosure (commonly known as “whistleblowing”)

Appealing your redundancy

If you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed then you can appeal your dismissal. If you wish to challenge the decision then you must write to your employer to do so, explaining the reasons why you think your redundancy has been unfair.

You may also be entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal.

Voluntary redundancy

If you volunteer for redundancy then your employer still has the discretion whether or not to select you for redundancy.

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Next: Redundancy pay

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