Redundancy is when an individual is dismissed from employment because there is a need to reduce the workforce, whether this is due to cost-cutting, the business closing down or the role no longer existing.
In the case of a small number of redundancies, an employer must consult with the individual(s) involved, explaining the reasons behind the decision and any alternative possibilities. Failure to do so can provide grounds for unfair dismissal.
When 20 people or more are to be made redundant, employers are obliged to consult with the employees’ representatives. Again, failure to do so can provide grounds for unfair dismissal.
Furthermore, if an individual has been working for an employer for two years or more, then they are entitled to a redundancy payment, based on their age and length of employment.
However, if an employee is offered suitable alternative employment and cannot prove their refusal of the new position was reasonable – perhaps in terms of pay, location or role – then they may not be entitled to redundancy pay.
Disputes over redundancy can happen for any number of reasons and, more often than not, stem from whether the decision is fair or not. If a just explanation cannot be provided, then this could be classed as unfair dismissal.
In addition, disputes may arise over redundancy payments and whether an offer of alternative employment was reasonably refused.
As any claims against a former employer in the Employment Tribunal need to be made within six months of the redundancy occurring, it is vital to seek dedicated advice from our specialist employment solicitors as soon as possible.