Many businesses needing to reduce their workforce offer redundancy to their surplus employees, but occasionally, employers call certain situations redundancy even though there isn’t a genuine business reason for dismissing the employees in question.  

Knowing whether your redundancy was fair or whether it equates to a case for unfair dismissal is, therefore, important. So, let’s take a look at the process of making someone redundant and what constitutes a fair and an unfair process.  

How Does The Process Of Redundancy Work? 

When a company needs to make staff redundant, the first step is to hold consultations with employees to identify clearly why they have been chosen for redundancy, giving them details about the reasons for their job being at risk and offering them the chance to present alternative proposals to avoid redundancy.  

The process of selection has to be demonstrably objective and fair. Although it’s permitted to take issues like service length and disciplinary records into account, employees can be selected on grounds of sex, age, disability, race, or working hour status. If there is no process of consultation offered to employees or the process of selection could be deemed to be unfair, an unfair dismissal claim could arise. 

Alternative Working Arrangements 

During the process of consultation, employers are required to consider every alternative to avoid redundancies, including salary reductions, restructures, or changes in duties. Suitable alternative working arrangements must be considered. 

Period Of Notice 

The notice period is calculated depending on the employee’s service length. Employment contracts may extend the period of statutory notice but cannot reduce the minimum period determined by the law. In their notice period, employees must be paid or, if the employment is ended with no notice then they should receive payment in lieu.  

Suspecting Unfair Dismissal 

If the procedures have not been properly followed when your redundancy was made, or you have been made redundant for an invalid reason, you can make a claim for an unfair dismissal. You can only do this, however, if you’ve worked for the organisation for a minimum period of 2 years continuously on the date your contract ends.  

If you suspect your have been unfairly dismissed, negotiating with your employer should be the first step to attempt to gain compensation for your reasonable anticipated lost earnings. The employer may offer a settlement agreement or compensation to resolve the situation but seeking professional legal advice regarding this is vital.  

Should all options be exhausted, you can take your claim to an Employment Tribunal, but the application has to be made for Early Conciliation to ACAS within 3 months of your dismissal date. Should the Tribunal find in your favour, they may order that you are re-engaged or reinstated, or make a compensation order for your lost earnings.  

Understanding Redundancy  

Most cases of redundancy are fair, with employers using the correct procedures under the law. However, in a few cases, employees find that they have been unfairly dismissed. In such cases, understanding what constitutes a fair redundancy process is vital in order to take action against a remiss employer.