Employment Law: Redundancy

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Whiskey_60, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. Hello all,

    Just looking for a little advice. My Civvi employer announced in January that we were going to be made redundant, we were given our formal notice in writing along with our Redundancy pay figures around 2 weeks ago. When the anouncement was first made we asked if there was any job match available, we work in a building with 2 departments. Ours which is a Tech Support role (all the department were to be laid off and the role outsourced) and a Tele-Phone Banking department. When we asked this they stated that the jobs were NOT a match - which is true, they aren't the only similarity is that we use some of the same systems and we both use phones.

    Now with only 2 weeks to go before leaving and getting our redundancy pay they have withdrawn the redundancy (despite us all having our notice and leave date in writing) stating that they have found a job match for us - the Telephone banking role which they first said was not a job match.

    For 3 months we have all known we were going to be laid off, people have booked flights, courses, got new jobs lined up for when we expected to leave planned out the last three months finances with the knowledge that we'd each have atleast £6k tax free in April. When the announcement was given yesterday women were crying and blokes were shouting abuse at the poor sod that had to deliver this message.

    My question is, can they legally do this? I know morally they are fcuking bankrupt but do we have any rights? The stress and pressure of finding new work, re-aranging finances when it was first announced was bad enough, now we have all come to terms with it and made new plans and actually were all looking forward to leaving with some extra dosh in our pockets to get rid of bills or learn new skills for a new career.

    Thanks for any help/advice given.

  2. Burn the office to the ground, and then everyone will be redundant.

    edit: sorry for the NAAFI-ness.

    Seriously, I saw another company try this to avoid paying redundancy to lots of people. They'll do anything they can to avoid it.
  3. Aha, hadn't seen them before.

    I'll have a look at this now and see what I can get from them - the issue is still ongoing with some extreme unprofessionalism being displayed by the Senior ranks, It is a big Bank I work for so I shouldn't expect anything less really!

  4. Stick to your guns and get as much HR procedural info as you can, I'm going through a tribunal at the mo (or rather still waiting!!) Document everything, emails, memos etc. As my legal beagle told me, most tribunals (if it comes to that) are won on procedural error! Someone better qualified than I may be able to confirm this....or not as the case maybe.

    Good luck!
  5. I am not an employment law expert by any stretch of the imagination so I pasted the question in an e mail to my collegaue who is an employment expert.

    her reply was this:

    "I think the employee asking the question should resist these attempts by the employer, unless he actually has not found another job and it would be in his financial interest to discuss with the employer. If the employer refuses to pay redudnancy the employee can claim through the Employment Tribunal"

    If that helps great, if not, feel free to ask for further information through Arrse.

  6. No that helps actually. It's along the same lines as what I've been told elsewhere so to have it confirmed helps a great deal. I think that I'm going to go down the tribunal route with this one.

    Thanks again,

  7. Good for you and good luck with the Tribunal

    As an unashamed plug for Forces Law dont forget that there are Solicitors out there who try to support serving and ex member of the Armed Forces. Go to


    who may be able to help. We as an organisation give discounts to armed forces personnel and most give a free first interview. We also understand military mentality better.

    All member companies must be involved with the military in some way (usually because we are ex reg or present TA soldiers and officers)

    Forces Law is geeographically spread throughout the country.

    Also dont forget that there are some firms who do "no win no fee" for employment law matters - you just pay a few hundred quid (but not always - sometimes you dont pay anything) for the insurance policy to do the no win no fee.

    Combine the two, ie a Forces Law firm of Solicitors who does no win no fee and you are in the right place for a good result. (It doesnt matter if your employment is not a military one).

    You can of course do it yourself, but with the above options, it doesnt really make sense to do it yourself. If you take your fellow aggrieved colleagues and start a class action, you will get even more discount or the Solicitors may waive the insurance fee if you bargain hard enough.

    Hope that helps.
  8. Nice one JD, as I mentioned earlier I'm in the process of a tribunal at the mo, a colleague and I (both ex RE) are going for unfair dissmisal and really do need some form of expert legal advice so the link will come in handy. Advice taken so far is from a friend of a friend, he runs his own HR company and has been really helpfull, unfortunately he's out of my price range even at mates rates. If you (or anyone else) can personally recommend a decent employment solicitor local to kent/Central London at reasonable rates, we would be very interested.

  9. I think it would be legitimate to draw such inferences as appear proper in relation to the job said to be'matched' when it was initially rejected as such by the employer prior to the issue of termination notices followed by an acknowledgement that the job in question is, in fact, 'matched' after such notices have been issued to the employees affected.

    The issue turns on whether those who leave in reliance on having established new sources of employment may legitimately claim they have been made redundant?

    In other words, has the employer sought to circumvent the financial consequences of redundancy in relation to those who leave?

    Redundancy can mean different things to different people and in different contexts. However, its statutory definition is found at at section 139(1) Employment Rights Act 1996:

    You will see from the hyperlinked copy (I have checked this against the wording ccontained at page 910 of the sixteenth edition of Butterworths Employment Law Handbook 2008) that paragraph (b) of subsection (1) to section 139 is concerned with dismissal for redundancy where work of a particular kind will have ceased or dimished or is expected to cease or diminish.

    The issue turns on whether those who leave can discharge the burden of proving that the work of the kind upon which they were employed has ceased or diminished. Much will depend on the difficult question of fact - how radical does a change in the job, or the reorganisation of it have to be before it can be said that the ffunction itself has changed? To put in the language of section 139 - what is work of a particular kind? If the change is work enouoght to turn it into work of a diffeennt kind, the the employee who is unwilling or unable to perform the new function can claim that he is redundant since his old function as disappeared.

    The case law which interprets this section would suggest that the employer and not the employee is in a particularly strong position here. In Johnson v Nottinghamshire Combined Police Authority [1974] 1 All ER 1082 the Court of Appeal threw out a claim by two post office workers who claimed redundancy because their shift pattern had radically changed and who were replaced by two new employees. The Court of Apeal said:

    "It is settled that an employer is entitled to reorganise his business so as to improve its efficiency and, in doing so, to propose to his stafff a change in the terms and conditons of their employment; and to dispense with their services if they do not agree. Such a change does not automaticaly give the staff a right to redundancy payments.."

    It is a fair to suggest that the Company Lawyers were well aware of the restrictive nature of that provision when they advised your company on the course of action to take to minimise their costs (if not their fees!)

    You see, I suggest, tentatively since I am not in possession of the full facts, that an employer in today's financial climate may seek to create the conditions under which his employers may so organise their lives that they may seek to leave voluntarily helped on their way in the belief that they may apply to an employment tribunal for redundancy payment.

    The employer would argue that his initial diagnosis was wrong and that this was communicated to the employee prior to his departure. In any event, the employer is, according to the restrictive interpretation given to section 139 by the courts, entitled to restructure the job to make it more efficient which does not amount to redundancy within section 139(1)(b).

    In other words, the employer has secured a voluntary termination of employment rather than a redundacy situation and has thus avoided the financial consequences.

    You are advised to seek specialist legal advice on this issue.
  10. Sorry to hear your news............ I'm going through the same thing............. in January they announce that we're all going to be made redundant, and now they want to keep certain 'key' people on etc....... the usual stuff. I know it's not everyone's cup of screech, but we got the union involved, and they really have come up trumps! Also, with certain banks and accounts, you get free legal advice.
    But at the end of the day................ to them you are just an 'over-head' and therefore need to got rid of or re-deployed as cheaply as possible so that the grand fromages can still claim their massive bonuses.
  11. Checked the 'perks' that come with my Lloyds platinum account, no legal advice :(
  12. MOST home insurance policies cover you for legal advice usually upto £50K which in the very vast majority of cases is sufficient for even the most complex of cases.

    check your home policy out, it is unlikely that your car insurance policy covers your legal expenses other than for car related litigation but it is still worth checking.

    Hope that helps and sorry I forgot to mention that earlier.
  13. Well the tribunal is done and dusted, I reckon its 50/50. It was good to at least have my day in court and gave me great satisfaction to see my former CEO squirm and crumble under my questioning. The thing is that the Tribunal have said they are going to 'reserve' judgement and notify us of the result by post. It's been nearly 3 weeks now since the end of the tribunal and i'm wondering if anybody knows how long these things usually take?? I'm not interested in the monitary outcome, however it would be nice to know I was right from the off and my former Employers are bunch of scheming shysters!!!

    Cheers, GIO
  14. Good to see that you had your day in court and that you got your point across.

    As for reserved judgement, that essentially means that the tribunal members will want to think over the evidence more carefully before coming to a decision. That is neither good for you or bad for you. It means they just havent yet made a decision.

    As for timescales, I am no expert in employment tribunal matters but from what I have heard/seen the same members meet up on dates when they are all available (which can take ages) and then review the evidence and then make their decision. Then that decision which can be many pages long (20 pages wouldnt surprise me for your sort of case) needs to be typed up and then checked before sending.

    It wouldnt suprise me if that took a month - 6 weeks. I would start chasing after the month mark.


    If you do get a decision against you your rights of appeal are time limited so if you want to take it further you would need to act fast. I hope sincerely it doesnt come to that and you win in the first instance !

    I hope that helps, if you need more info...just holler !