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Is redundancy fair?

Under UK law, redundancy is considered one of the fair reasons for dismissal. However, for the redundancy to be fair, an employer must follow the redundancy rules and ensure it is a fair and reasonable procedure, otherwise the redundancy may be seen as unfair, which means you can potentially take your employer to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

If you are facing redundancy at work, you will only have redundancy rights if you have worked for your employer for two years or more. You can only be made redundant if:

  • The company you work for is closing
  • The location you work in for your company is closing
  • The organisation you work for no longer requires the work you do

Any other reason is not a fair reason for redundancy. The typical scenarios which result in genuine redundancies include:

  • The organisation has reorganised, and your work is being done by others
  • Your skills are no longer needed
  • The organisation you work for is failing or a part of it has stopped trading
  • If your company has merged or been taken over by another company
  • The work you are doing, or the company themselves, are relocating
  • Your employer was the only owner of the business and they die, meaning that operations cease
  • If technology means the organisation needs fewer people to do your job

If you don’t think your redundancy is genuine then you may want to challenge your redundancy. Many organisations have a formal redundancy appeals process, which should always be your first port of call. If your employer does not have a set redundancy appeals process, then you can write your employer a redundancy appeal letter, outlining why you think your redundancy is unfair and asking them to reconsider.

If you think your employers have not followed the redundancy rules and you wish to challenge their decision then contact our employment law solicitors today on 0161 696 6170.


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Unfair selection for redundancy

There are a number of fair reasons why you could be made redundant, however there are several instances where selection for redundancy may be unfair.

Examples of unfair redundancy

The below are examples of ‘automatically unfair reasons’ for redundancy and these apply regardless of how long you’ve worked for your employer:

  • You asked for one of your statutory working rights at work, such as the minimum wage, maternity leave or holiday entitlement
  • You took action with regards to health and safety, such as making a complaint regarding breaches to health and safety at work
  • You work in retail and refused to work on Sundays for religious reasons
  • You were on jury service 
  • You work part-time
  • You work on a fixed-term contact and you are being made redundant before this term ends
  • You are a member of a trade union or have been on strike
  • You are a whistleblower

You can only claim unfair redundancy if one or more of the scenarios above was the reason or part of the reason why you were made redundant. You are not automatically protected from redundancy if you are say on maternity leave or a whistle-blower, they just can’t be the reasons why you’re made redundant.

If you start proceedings against your employer, then you will need to show that you have been made redundant due to an automatically unfair reason. You may be able to do this by:

  • Demonstrating that other people in a similar situation, for example – if they all work part time, have also been made redundant
  • Showing that others who have the same or similar jobs have not been considered for redundancy
  • Demonstrating that your redundancy came directly after you’d gone on jury service, made a health and safety complaint, asked for a statutory right or played a part in whistleblowing

When an employer is choosing who to make redundant, this is known as a pool. As long as you have redundancy rights, you should be told how many people are in the pool and how the selection will be made. For this to be fair, everyone has to be scored or measured in the same way and they must only choose those who have the lowest scores or measurements to be made redundant.

To make the selection fair, this has to be based on something that can be measured, such as performance (as long as they can show they have been measuring it), your timekeeping, your disciplinary record and how long you have worked for them. 

Unfair redundancy

If you think you have been made redundant unfairly then contact our expert redundancy solicitors today on 0161 696 6170.

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