The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has finally delivered his Autumn Statement. The “unprecedented global headwinds” he mentions coming so closely behind the equally unprecedented series of adverse events over the past two or three years have presented one of the most commercially detrimental situations that the vast majority of businesses have ever faced.

Businesses attempting to weather the economic crisis will need to have considerable resilience and work in a commercially resourceful way.  From large organisations in sectors such as retail, hospitality and leisure, facing a shrinking customer base as consumers have less disposable income, to small businesses already struggling to stay afloat having been hit by the challenges of Brexit, the pandemic, and rising prices as a consequence of the conflict in Ukraine.

For some businesses the only possibility left to them is reconsidering and cutting down their workforces leaving countless employees at risk of losing their jobs. The even greater risk is that panicked employers will cut a swathe through their workforce without applying the due process of the law or adhering to the way a redundancy programme should be conducted.  Employers are permitted to use disciplinary records, past appraisals and other objective factors to assist them with the selection process during a redundancy process. However, they are not allowed to consider anything that amounts to discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, race, disability, religious beliefs, membership of a trade union, maternity or paternity leave, pregnancy, working pattern or whistleblowing. There must be a fair basis for selection. It is also important to consider the size of the organisation and the amount of people at risk of redundancy, as there are different procedures applied depending on these factors.

Daniel Theron,  a partner, commented “unfortunately many companies just use the situation as a way to get rid of employees that for some reason are unwelcome within their organisation.”  Daniel further pointed out, “often employers take the opportunity to discharge employees under the veil of redundancy due to their perception that the employee may be a disadvantage to the business. This could be for reasons such as being absent from the workplace due to illness or pregnancy, a belief that their age makes them less efficient or that their presence is unsettling for others due to such issues as race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or transgender concerns.  In such cases the employer can be at risk of proceedings being issued by a disgruntled employee in the employment tribunal under The Equality Act 2010 or for a breach of the redundancy process”

An employee that believes that they were placed in the redundancy pool and made redundant for reasons that do not have any legal validity or are unfair may have been subject to discrimination and have been unfairly dismissed.   Giambrone & Partners’  highly experienced employment lawyers point out that if there are breaches in the procedure, the business could now be exposed to a claim brought in the Employment Tribunal for a number of issues such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and a breach of process.  Business owners must not treat redundancy as a way to rid the company of employees that they do not like.

Our employment lawyers have achieved a number of notable successes in the Employment Tribunal and have succeeded in obtaining significant awards for employees that have been dismissed or made redundant unfairly. Our employment team, from a commercial perspective, seek to achieve awards without recourse to Tribunal where possible and have achieved successes both in and out of Tribunal. Our lawyers display. dogged persistence to obtain the maximum awards recognising that it is extremely demoralising for an employee to be placed in such a position where there is bias and they are helpless to alter the outcome.

If you have been placed in the redundancy pool by your employer and you believe that there is an ulterior or incorrect motive on the part of your employer for doing so, Giambrone & Partners can provide a legal assessment of your situation and assist you if there are any breaches of employment law relating to your situation.

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