If you have been given the unfortunate news that you are “at risk” of redundancy what are your entitlements? And what should you do if you believe your rights have been breached? Here’s a quick guide.
1. Consider whether you are part of a pool of employees identified by your employer (“the selection pool”) or whether you have been “ring fenced” because, for example, there are no other employees in the same area of the business.
2. If there is a selection pool, have you been fairly selected for redundancy? Your employer must have applied objective selection criteria such as qualifications, experience, skills, attendance and disciplinary records to the selection pool. The lowest-scoring employee or employees are “at risk” of redundancy.
3. You should receive a letter summarising the reasons giving rise to the potential redundancy situation and inviting you to attend a consultation meeting to discuss the position. You are entitled to bring a work colleague or trade union representative to the meeting.
4. Consider whether you can be redeployed within the business or take on an alternative role.
5. At the consultation meeting your employer will explain in more detail what has caused the redundancy situation and how it will affect you. You can ask your employer to explain what criteria has been used to score you and outline how you have scored. You can also ask to see any score sheet. You should make proposals regarding possible redeployment and alternative roles and ask for these to be explored by your employer.
6. If you are made redundant, you should be informed of the decision in writing and be told about your right to appeal. You should also make sure you have received your full notice pay, payment for any untaken accrued holiday and the correct statutory redundancy payment (which should be tax free). You can calculate your redundancy entitlement on the BERR website.
7. If you do not believe your redundancy was fair, make sure you appeal the decision quickly and also seek legal advice. You should appeal in writing setting out the grounds why you consider your redundancy was unfair, for example, because there is, in your view, no genuine redundancy situation (the need for you to do your job has not ceased or diminished nor is it likely to do so).
Another challenge exists if due process has not been followed, for example if no pool was put in place, or if when one was, objective selection criteria were not applied properly to you.
Jo Keddie is head of the employment department and Louise Lawrence is a solicitor in the same team at Dawsons.