Unfair Dismissal & Redundancy

In certain situations, redundancies may need to be made to meet business needs or employees may be dismissed unfairly, under these circumstances legal action may need to be taken to rectify any wrongs and claim compensation. Our employment lawyers can give you clear, practical legal advice on both unfair dismissal and redundancy.

Unfair Dismissal Lawyers Fife, Edinburgh, Tayside, Central Scotland

Thornber Employment Law has a wealth of experience in assisting employees enforce their rights following an unfair dismissal.  Furthermore, we can also assist employers in following the correct procedures to avoid employment tribunal claims and liability for unfair dismissal.

UK employment law dictates that employees have a right to be dismissed fairly (or, technically, a right not to be unfairly dismissed). If they believe they have been unfairly dismissed, employees have the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim against the employer in an employment tribunal.

A dismissal occurs when (i) an employer terminates the employment contract (with or without notice), (ii) an employee resigns due to the employer committing a fundamental breach of the employment contract (known as constructive dismissal), or (iii) or a contract for a fixed term expires.

When an employment relationship is terminated by mutual agreement (which includes voluntary redundancy) this will not be classed as dismissal and the employee cannot make a tribunal claim.

An employer can dismiss an employee fairly for five fair reasons.  These reasons are:

  • misconduct
  • capability
  • redundancy
  • illegality
  • some other substantial reason

If the dismissal is not for one of these five reasons, it will be deemed unfair. However, even if the employer dismisses for a fair reason, it must still act reasonably in all the circumstances.  This is where following a fair and correct procedure is relevant.  An employee may be dismissed for a fair reason but the dismissal would still be unfair if an unfair procedure was followed.

In most circumstances, an employee must be employed for two continuous years before the unfair dismissal law applies.

However, sometimes the two year qualifying period does not apply and the dismissal will be considered automatic.  This will apply where , for example if the employee was dismissed for a reason connected with

  • requesting to work flexibly;
  • taking maternity or pregnancy leave;
  • taking paternity or adoption leave or asking to do this;
  • requiring or taking parental leave to care for dependants;
  • whistleblowing;
  • trade union activities;
  • asserting certain statutory rights, eg minimum wage, annual leave or working tax credits

The time limit for bringing a claim for unfair dismissal is three months after the dismissal date of the employment. If an employee is successful in the unfair dismissal claim, they may be re-instated to the same job or re-engaged in a similar role, and/or be awarded compensation for loss of income and other payments.

If you require any more information about unfair dismissal, please contact our specialist employment lawyer, Ben Thornber, today.

Redundancy Lawyers in Fife, Edinburgh, Tayside, Central Scotland

Redundancy happens when an employer requires to reduce the number of people employed by the business.  This can be because the business is closing down, or the particular workplace is closing or moving to another location.  Alternatively, it could be that an employer merely requires a reduction in the number of staff doing a certain type of role, either because it has less need for that role or because it is restructuring the business in some other way.   The result is that employees will be dismissed because of redundancy.

Employees who are being made redundant have certain rights under the law and employers are required to ensure that the redundancy process is fair.

Employees who are selected for redundancy are entitled to be:

  • consulted about the redundancy proposals and the method of selection offered any alternative employment available  with the employer
  • provided with a fair process in which they can have their say, including a right of appeal
  • given a period of notice of termination of their employment
  • paid a statutory redundancy payment (or any other redundancy payments the employer may offer).

Where an employer is looking to make redundancy selections, they must take certain steps to ensure that the process is fair:

  • contact all employees affected to inform them that redundancies are going to be made
  • set out a consultation process involving at least two individual meetings with employees (where they have a right to be accompanied) and an appeal process
  • establish fair selection criteria, ideally with a mix of objective criteria (eg disciplinary records) and subjective criteria (eg contribution to the business), and apply them consistently and in a transparent way.
  • consider whether there are any alternative roles within the business which could be offered, and consult with the employees selected for redundancy about this
  • listen to comments made by employees during the consultation process and respond to them
  • inform employees about final decisions and explain the reasons for them

Where an employee redundancy is unfair, they may be able to make an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

There are special consultation rules which apply when there are 20 or more (or 100 or more) proposed redundancies within a 90 day period.  If the workforce is unionised, the unions must be provided with certain information and consulted with.  If the workforce is not unionised, the employer must help the employees to elect representatives and to consult with that elected body.  The employer must also notify the Secretary of State about the proposed redundancies.  There certain time limits for the consultation period.  Failure to follow these rules could result in the employer being liable for further compensation to the employees.

Contact Thornber Employment Law – Redundancy Legal Advice

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We advise clients in Fife, Lothian, Tayside and across Central Scotland. If you are looking for clear, practical help on redundancy from a real expert, give Ben a call today on 01383 27 2000 or fill out our online enquiry form – arrange your initial discussion regarding redundancy or about any employment issue today