With large numbers of people fearing their role may be made redundant this year, we understand how worrying this can be and ‘Sham redundancies’ are a real concern.

The news can bring a mix of emotions; shock, devastation, anxiety and fear for those committed to a company, where the job suits their life and they love doing it. For others this can be music to their ears because it involves a redundancy pay-out and a much needed excuse to move on, however, with the economy faltering it is not as welcome news as it might have been in normal times.

However, not all redundancies are created equal.

There is such a thing as a ‘sham’ redundancy, hence why employment tribunals exist to review the feasibility of the redundancy rationale. Because employers should not only follow a fair and legal process as outlined by the ACAS code of practice and employment legislation, but they must also justify their reasons for why the redundancy was necessary. Many employers might find relying on the pandemic slowdown as too tempting an opportunity to cut overheads without really having legitimate compelling business cases to justify making redundancies or the level of redundancies they propose.

Here are some points to look out for if you are suspicious of the redundancy situation you find yourself in.

  1. You are the only one being made redundant.
  2. The company isn’t citing financial difficulties as reason for the redundancy.
  3. ‘Woolly’ or ‘vague’ statements about financial loss that they are unwilling provide data or evidence to back-up.
  4. It looks like the new job description for any restructure is just your existing job ‘re-labelled’.
  5. Current vacancies haven’t been circulated and there has been no clear encouragement to apply for other jobs in the company.
  6. You believe the selection process or criteria disadvantages you on purpose
  7. Others have been told ‘confidentially’ that they are safe yet are also supposedly ‘at risk’ of redundancy.
  8. The word ‘proposed’ is not widely used, it feels like a ‘fait accompli’- pre-determined decision.
  9. You have made reasonable valid alternative suggestions which have not been properly explored by management.
  10. There has been a recent change of management or buy-out and new people with your similar skill set have been recruited.
  11. Spending in other areas of the organisation has not been cut.
  12. Managers don’t engage with you and your questions in consultation meetings have been left unanswered.
  13. Job vacancies exist in other areas of the organisation.

Redundancy is stressful, even if a favourable redundancy payment is available to you and you have decided you want to leave anyway. However, if you believe you are being managed out under the guise of redundancy then clearly this is unfair and you will have recourse in an employment tribunal.

So what can you do?

Firstly, you have to challenge your employer in the redundancy process. HR Solver’s dedicated HR and Employment Law experts can help support with this. We will work with you and your particular circumstances, suggesting questions to ask and advising you of the processes to follow ensuring your employment rights are protected and enabling you to prepare a strong case in the event you do believe your employer has been unfair and you wish to challenge them in an employment tribunal.

If you have questions on whether you have a potential employment tribunal case for unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal download  chat with our HR and employment law experts who can help you.

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