A step-by-step guide if the worst happens

A step-by-step guide if the worst happensIf you have been given the news that you are ‘at risk’ of redundancy, what should you do? Here is a quick guide to the redundancy process, your entitlements and what to do if you believe your rights have been breached:

• Consider whether you are part of a pool of employees identified by your employer (the selection pool), or whether you have been ‘ringfenced’ because, for example, there are no other employees in the same area of the business.

• If there is a selection pool, have you been selected fairly 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.

• 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.

• Consider whether you can be redeployed within the business or take on an alternative role.

• 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 redeployment and alternative roles and ask for these to be explored by your employer.

• 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 (tax-free) ­statutory redundancy payment. You can calculate your redundancy entitlement on the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) website.

• 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 to be 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, no pool was put in place, or if it was, objective selection criteria were not applied properly to you.

LEGAL JOB WATCH

TheLawyer.com, with your help, is providing up-to-the-minute news of ­layoffs, breaking them down by region and practice area. There is also ­practical advice, plus exclusive data from Lawyer Jobs, on where the ­employment opportunities are. As with all stories on TheLawyer.com, you can post your comments, as many readers have already done on this subject. If you have a topic you want us to look at, or an opinion you want to get off your chest, you can also email us in confidence at legaljobwatch@thelawyer.com.

Jo Keddie is a partner and head of the employment department at Dawsons and Louise Lawrence is a solicitor in the same team