Your rights during a restructure or redundancy

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Employment Law for Individuals

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The terms restructure and redundancy are often used interchangeably. A restructure may involve the redistribution of work among the same number of employees and could result in a proposal to redeploy employees or vary their contracts rather than a redundancy. However, often due to financial pressures, a restructure results in the loss of jobs with many facing the prospect of redundancy and a difficult and sometimes lengthy period of uncertainty.

Both redundancy and restructure entail some changes that are typically made to a company’s organisational structure when it is under financial pressure. Many employers get confused by the process and there are numerous areas where the employer gets it wrong and, therefore, many aspects to challenge. For example, they may fail to carry out a proper assessment to determine the reasons for the redundancy and make decisions too early in the process. This often results in the redundancy consultation becoming a mere tick box exercise.

Employees have protection during a redundancy process and there is a clear, fair procedure for employers to follow. However, not all employers adhere to this, resulting in potential unfair dismissals. In certain cases, consultation must also be on a collective basis. This means that the organisation must consult with the recognised trade union or unions or with the employee representatives that are elected by the employees or are already in place for the purposes of such consultation.

Employers also get the ‘pool’ wrong and either include the wrong people or exclude those they want to ring fence from the process. This is a common mistake made by employers that stems from the failure to understand that redundancy is not about the person but about the job that they are doing. Many employee claims have been successful due to the wrong pool being identified at the outset of the process.

Employers often misunderstand the requirements of a fair and objective selection process and make assumptions and decisions tainted by discrimination. You should not be made redundant because of your age, disability, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or part-time or fixed term employment. Whether consciously or unconsciously, bias is a major issue for an employer when applying a selection criterion resulting in further claims arising from a flawed process.

Our experienced team of redundancy solicitors at Penningtons Manches Cooper can help you navigate the process, offering practical advice and support, making sure you understand your redundancy rights and obtaining fair treatment and the appropriate financial package, when one is offered to you. If you feel the process has not been fair, we can provide you with an assessment and devise a robust challenge which we can use as leverage for a favourable settlement package.

We offer expert advice on:

  • engaging with the redundancy process whilst protecting your position
  • challenging an unfair or discriminatory redundancy process
  • assessing the fairness of your redundancy and identifying leverage for negotiations
  • negotiating a more favourable redundancy and settlement package

Recent work highlights

Tainted redundancy process

Acting for a disabled senior executive targeted by a tainted redundancy process. This included supporting the client to raise a grievance for disability and associative discrimination and ultimately negotiating a favourable exit package.

Redeployment following a restructure

Providing a senior manager with guidance on a new role and remuneration package following a restructure which included suitability, rights and obligations during a trial period.

Redundancy severance package

Advising a senior executive in an international bank on a severance package and securing payment of a discretionary bonus following redundancy, when the employer argues its right to use the process to reduce his bonus by a significant amount.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP