HR expert guide: Redundancy

The sweeping cuts that will flow from the government spending review mean that redundancy is on the cards for both public and private sector employees. Guy Hollebon explains how to go through the painful process correctly to avoid the risk of Employment Tribunal claims.

Getting redundancy wrong can be expensive. Someone made redundant after a year in the job could win up to £65,300 from an Employment Tribunal if an unfair redundancy process resulted in a successful unfair dismissal claim.

To avoid such situations, employers need to abide by some key legal requirements that govern redundancies. First, there has to be a genuine redundancy situation. The employer may have to close a workplace or part of it, or a genuine situation may arise if the task carried out by employees has ceased or diminished.

Assuming there is a genuine redundancy situation, the employer must be fair. A pool of affected employees must be identified and staff within the pool must be notified in writing that they are at risk of redundancy. Before the employer makes any concrete decisions, a consultation period should begin.

The consultation period allows affected employees to put forward comments or suggestions that may enable them to avoid redundancy.

The selection criteria used to decide which employees will ultimately be made redundant must be appropriate and objective.

Guy Hollebon is Director, Solicitor and Head of Employment at Bevans. This guide is version of an article that first appeared on HRZone.co.uk. It is for information only and does not replace the need for specific legal advice in each individual case.

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