What is Redundancy? While it is possible to give a long-winded definition of redundancy, the simple fact is: redundancy is a type of dismissal.
Sometimes employers may try to use redundancy as an excuse for dismissing employees. There is, however, a clear distinction between your position genuinely becoming redundant and being unfairly dismissed.
If you are dismissed for reasons of redundancy then your dismissal must be caused by your employer's need to reduce their workforce. Your employer has to demonstrate your role in the company is no longer required and they must follow the correct redundancy procedure - otherwise, it can be viewed as a case of unfair dismissal.
Grounds for Redundancy
In order to protect employees from being made redundant on unnecessary grounds, employment law specifies certain conditions for a redundancy to be genuine:
• Cessation of the employer’s business operations or the part of its operations for which the employee was hired;
• Relocation of employer’s business or operations or the need for a particular service has diminished or ceased.
• The employee’s services are no longer required – either because the employer’s business is not successful or the employer has decided to engage in another type of business which does not require the skills set of the employee;
• The employee’s work has been taken over by other employees;
• The employer is the sole owner of the business and becomes insolvent or dies.
How to Seek Help
If you believe that you have been declared redundant for the wrong reasons, there is a 3 stage procedure which you should follow:
• You should register a grievance in writing with your employer and state the reasons for it.
• You should then be invited to attend a meeting with your employer to discuss your grievance. After the meeting your employer should inform you of its decision - whether this redundancy decision stands or can be reversed if the company can offer suitable alternative employment.
• You then have the right of appeal and to have a further meeting to discuss the decision.
If discussions with your employer are proving unsuccessful, speak to your trade union if you’re a member. The union should be able to help you defend your rights against unfair dismissal.
You may find it useful to engage the services of an experienced employment law solicitor if your own efforts are proving unproductive. An employment law solicitor can provide information on your rights and will determine if you have been made redundant on insufficient grounds, if the incorrect procedure has been followed or if you have been discriminated against. They will also be able to assist you in drafting your grievance letter if required.