Redundancy – can you challenge this?

Man looking pensive

Your employer may have advised you that you are being made redundant which can be a worrying and anxious time.

In order for your employer to do this, there should be a genuine situation for redundancy.

How do you know if the redundancy is genuine?

The redundancy would be genuine if there is a legitimate business reason for your job coming to an end. Examples could be as follows:

  • The business is not performing well
  • Your job is no longer required i.e. they have technology to do your job now
  • Part of the business has stopped operating
  • There has been a business reorganisation and your job has been absorbed into another job role
  • The business relocates
  • The business is taken over by another company

If you doubt any of the reasons your employer is saying to you about why your role has been made redundant, you may find that there is not a genuine redundancy situation and legally speaking, you may have grounds to challenge this.

Signs that your redundancy may not be genuine

There are some telling signs that a redundancy reason is not genuine. These could include:

  • The decision to make you redundant coming closely after you have made a complaint or raised a grievance
  • You feel you are being discriminated against
  • You are the only one being made redundant
  • You know there is someone else lined up to do your job
  • You are not aware of any downturn in business
  • There has been a recent complaint about you

The redundancy process

This should be clearly set out somewhere such as your employee handbook. There is no set process that requires to be followed but whatever process your employer has should be clearly set out.

Your employer should consult individually with you and allow discussions to take place regarding the reasons for proposed redundancy, alternatives to redundancy, why you are being considered and if there are suitable alternative roles in the company.

A decision on redundancy should not be made without consulting with you. If you are made redundant this should be confirmed to you along with the reasons why.

You will have a right of appeal against the decision. If you are of the view that the process has not been followed fairly or accurately, you may be able to challenge this.

Challenging your redundancy

In order to challenge your redundancy, there is certain criteria you must fulfil such as:

  • 2 years full service (unless it is an automatically unfair reason for redundancy)
  • You believe there is not a genuine redundancy situation
  • You believe that there has been an unfair procedure followed
  • You believe you have been discriminated against when reaching the decision to make you redundant

Automatically unfair reasons for redundancy do not require you to have 2 years service and include:

  • Trying to exercise a legal right
  • Whistleblowing
  • Health and safety complaints
  • Working part time or on a fixed term contract
  • Refusing to work on a Sunday

Redundancy Settlement Agreement

If your employer does make the decision to make you redundant they may look to tie up the process with a Settlement Agreement.

The Settlement Agreement will be a contract between you and your employer with specific terms and conditions. The main idea of the Settlement Agreement is that in return for compensation, you agree that you will not pursue any legal rights against your employer in relation to the termination of your employment.

Your employer may offer you an enhanced redundancy payment as opposed to a statutory redundancy payment so this may be a beneficial way to handle the process of the redundancy.

Specialist employment advice about redundancy

Digby Brown are specialised in advising on all aspects of redundancy, whether it is the process or the selection or simply what you are entitled to.

Our specialist solicitors can provide you with the relevant advice you would require if you are issued with a Settlement Agreement. We understand that time can be a pressure in these situations and have the facilities to handle your case in a timely and professional manner.