To be made redundant is to be dismissed by an employer because of a business closure, a site closure or because they no longer need the work that an employee does.
Note that there are special obligations on an employer who proposes to make at least 20 or more redundancies within a period of 90 days or less (collective redundancies) to:
- Consult with representatives of the affected employees
- Notify the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (‘BEIS’)
Failing which, they can be subject to a sanction of up to 90 days’ gross actual pay for each affected employee, that can be a substantial amount.
A fair procedure should therefore be followed in all cases that involves consultation with the employee and consideration of whether there is suitable alternative employment. Identifying whether the dismissal is fair is genuinely straightforward when a business or site closes, less so if an employer is reducing their workforce.
A dismissal may be unfair if:
- An employer replaces a redundant employee, or intends to do so in the near future
- An employer criticises an employee’s performance and then makes them redundant This may indicate that the dismissal is more about poor performance than a genuine redundancy
- Only one employee in a large team is selected for redundancy without any warning or process
- The selected employee is pregnant or is the only employee from an ethnic minority, is disabled, gay or of a particular religion, in which case their dismissal may be unfair and discriminatory
- An employee has had a poor relationship with their line manager, which might indicate their dismissal is for a reason other than redundancy