Redundancy lawyers

Employer legal advice and services for making employees redundant.

Making staff redundant

If correct process is followed, an employer can dismiss an employee by reason of a redundancy or restructuring and avoid paying out on employment law claims.

The key is :

  • to ensure employees are given sufficient warning of potential redundancies;
  • having clear criteria for selecting employees for potential redundancy which are then applied and documented consistently, ensuring they are non-discriminatory;
  • appropriate consultation with employees; and
  • looking at any suitable alternative options to redundancy.

If ,as employer, you fail to follow the correct redundancy process you risk an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim plus paying out compensation.  Even worse for employers is being dragged through the Employment Tribunal, risking adverse publicity.

Our employment lawyers can advise and guide you, as an employer, through the redundancy process. Our cost effective and experienced services can include ensuring you have the right paperwork through to dealing with difficult situations or redundancy appeals and allegations of unfair and/or discriminatory selection for redundancy. Please do get in contact.

Redundancies due to coronavirus/covid-19

Employers have been facing and are continuing to face very difficult redundancy decisions triggered by covid-19 and the end of furlough. Complying with the correct redundancy process is essential to avoid potential unfair dismissal and/or discrimination claims.

In normal business and economic conditions staff redundancies take time and must be done carefully. We are not in normal times. Notwithstanding 1 of the legal aspects of fair redundancy process is to take into account the size and resources of employers, many employers may be caught out trying to quickly make business critical redundancy decisions caused by coronavirus business problems.

If you need fast, cost effective, specialist and experienced specialist redundancy solicitors, we can help.

Making employees redundant

We are specialist employment law solicitors and have dealt with a lot of redundancy situations for employers. This translates to cost savings for you as we can quickly determine how best to proceed.

  • We cover all the areas you will need. We help you to document and justify your decisions in a way most likely to avoid an employment law claim.
  • We can meet a short notice at our central London offices. You will be looked after by a partner.

Fair reasons for redundancy

A “fair reason” for an employee dismissal by reason of redundancy, is  a reason that is wholly or mainly attributable to the business:

  • Ceasing trading;
  • Relocating; or
  • Requiring fewer employees for a particular task.

Genuine redundancy

Not every redundancy is genuine. The employee may claim you selected them for redundancy for other reasons. Employees challenge employers attempts to disguise dismissals as redundancies.

Redundancy process mistakes

Over the years we have seen that employers need support around aspects of the process.

It is often difficult for employees to successfully challenge the business decision made by the employer that less staff are needed. It’s what happens after that where problems can arise.

It can also be difficult for an employee to successfully challenge basic criteria for starting the redundancy process such as “last in first out”. Problems we see tend to arise where an employer is confused about which criteria to use and particularly in applying the criteria and documenting the process properly all the way through.

We have redundancy employment law specialists who handle not only the law but the practical implementation.

Selecting employees for a redundancy pool

Most problems arise around what to do with an employee who is:

  • Absent on sick leave;
  • Approaching retirement age;
  • On maternity leave;
  • About to return from maternity leave; and
  • Employee representations during the consultation process.

There are a multitude of other situations which employers may also encounter when making someone redundant. See also our more in-depth guide to difficult redundancy situations.

Getting the redundancy process right

Many employers use us to help draft the communications with potentially  redundant or restructured employees. The right message has to be conveyed and obtaining agreement can make the process much easier.

Redundancy process

The redundancy process requires a little planning and well drafted documentation. Nevertheless employers can execute the process quickly and effectively.

Larger employer redundancies

Employers who will make over 20 employees redundant in a 90 day period are obliged to consult collectively with employees. A failure to follow collective consultation can lead to penal damages awards of up to 12 weeks’ pay per employee.

See also our more detailed guide to making a large number of staff redundant.

Redundancy selection criteria

Employers must identify the pool of possible employees potentially at risk. They must then score the at-risk employees to select the actual candidate(s). Redundant employees often challenge this scoring as unfair, especially if the employer did not consult.

Employers often identify a “pool of one”. This avoids having to score employees. Employees can challenge this, because employers did not correctly execute the required redundancy process.

The redundancy pool

There are no fixed rules about how to define a redundancy pool.  If employers show their choice of pool was reasonable in the circumstances, an employment tribunal is unlikely to challenge the decision.

For example, it is not always unfair to choose a redundancy pool that is the same size as the number of redundancies. However, only choose this option if there are strong reasons for doing so. You should remain wary of overstating the commercial risks of a wider pool.

Redundancy pool: interchangeable skills

A wider pool may be required, especially if the work is “low-skilled” and the skills are interchangeable.  Hence, the business should consider the extent to which employees do similar work, and their jobs are interchangeable.  Look at the reality of someones day-to-day activities, as well as the employment documentation.

Complications

Identifying the pool is more complicated if your employees:

  • Are multi-skilled;
  • Do different types of work; or
  • Can be required to do different types of work.

Alternatives to redundancy

An employer is obliged to consider alternatives to dismissal. Complications and pitfalls for employers can include :

  • suspending or restricting recruitment;
  • whether to terminate contractors, or not renew their contracts;
  • alternative roles: perhaps at a different group company. This may involve retraining and a statutory trial period;
  • bumping: dismiss a different employee;
  • reduced hours, pay reductions, or other cost savings;
  • consultancy arrangements; and
  • invite voluntary redundancy.

Appeals against the redundancy process

An employee can appeal the redundancy decision. Usually the appeal fails. However, employees are often advised to appeal before claiming unfair dismissal.

Redundancy payments

Employees who are dismissed by reason of redundancy may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.  Additionally, they may be an express or implied contractual right to an enhanced payment.

Redundancy notice

There are process requirements when considering staff redundancies. The correct notice of potential redundancies, usually in the form of a letter to employees, is very important both in terms of process and form. If you need assistance or would feel more comfortable getting professional legal help to make sure you get things right, please do get in contact with us.

Redundancy solicitors

We are a cost effective, highly experienced choice for legal advice  for employers. Please do get in contact.

Alex Kennedy

I know that when the noise dies down there is a solution to be found. I set about that task as quickly as possible.

Let us take it from here

Call us on 020 7438 1060 or complete the form and one of our team will be in touch.