What you need to know about redundancy

Get help with redundancy disputes
25th April 2018

Redundancy is a type of dismissal which can happen when an employer wants to reduce the number of staff working for them. They may select workers for redundancy, ask for volunteers, or both. Whichever method they use, it must be fair to employees.

Who decides who is made redundant?

Some common methods used for selecting who to make redundant include:

  • Looking at the skills, qualifications and appraisal scores of staff;
  • Checking employees’ disciplinary records;
  • The ‘last in, first out’ method, where the more recent employees are the first to go.

All these methods are backed by evidence. While an employer may select staff for redundancy on the basis of work performance, for example, this must be demonstrated through appraisal records or a similar method, rather than the employer simply selecting the employees they think are the worst performers on a whim.

Redundancy must be fair to employees and backed by evidence.

A specific method for selecting employees for redundancy may be described in employees’ employment contracts, or your employer may have used a particular method without objection in a previous redundancy situation. In these cases, the method stated or the process which has been used before should be applied.

A selection process will not be necessary if a particular department is being shut down entirely, meaning all of the employees there will be made redundant.

Unfair redundancy

If your employer selects employees for redundancy for unfair reasons, this will be seen as unfair dismissal. It is unfair to make people redundant on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexuality
  • Marital status
  • Disability
  • Religion or other strongly-held belief
  • Their working pattern (for example, part-time employees)
  • Taking maternity, paternity, parental or dependents leave
  • Being pregnant or giving birth
  • Membership of or involvement in trade union activities, or lack thereof
  • Involvement in health and safety activities, or having taken action over health and safety concerns
  • Asserting their statutory employment rights
  • Taking part in a strike or other industrial action for 12 weeks or less
  • Whistleblowing
  • Being a trustee of a company pension scheme
  • Jury service.

Some of these reasons also count as discrimination. If you feel that you have been unfairly selected for redundancy or discriminated against, you may be able to make a claim at an employment tribunal.

If you feel that you have been unfairly selected for redundancy or discriminated against, you may be able to make a claim at an employment tribunal.

Redundancy rights

If you are facing redundancy, there are a number of employment rights that you may be entitled to. These can include a notice period, redundancy pay, the offer of suitable alternative employment, and time off to look for work. Your employer should also consult with you or an employee representative over the need for the redundancies.

For a complete overview of these rights and when they are applicable, read our post on redundancy pay and rights.

Redundancy pay and rights

Dismissal from work

In the majority of cases, if your employer wants to dismiss you from your job, they are required by law to follow certain procedures to ensure that everything is done fairly. Make sure you know your employment rights in a dismissal situation.

April 2018 Learn more
Redundancy pay and rights

If you are being made redundant, you will have certain rights by law. You may be entitled to redundancy pay, specific notice periods, and a number of other things.

April 2018 Learn more
What to do if you are being discriminated against at work

Everyone has the right not to be subjected to discrimination at work. In this article we look at what characteristics are protected by discrimination legislation.

April 2018 Learn more

Read more from the DAS Law blog

Employment disputes International Stress Awareness Week: your workplace rights

To mark International Stress Awareness Week, Hannah Parsons, a solicitor at DAS Law, takes a look at what the law says your employer needs to do about stress.

October 2019
Employment disputes How to deal with mental health discrimination at work

There are legal protections in place to support those with a mental health condition. Here’s what you need to know if you are being treated unfairly at work because of your mental health.

October 2019
Employment disputes Don’t get a red card while watching the World Cup at work

If you are planning on watching World Cup matches at work there are a number of important things to consider.

September 2019
Employment disputes Can your boss force you to work the August Bank Holiday?

Can you refuse to work on a bank holiday? DAS Law’s Hannah Parsons outlines your rights.

August 2019
Employment disputes , Goods and services disputes , Professional services disputes Is the customer always right when it comes to alcohol and pregnancy?

A recent Reddit post sparked debate on personal accountability and the rights of serving staff when it comes to alcohol. Larna Mason explains what the law says.

August 2019
Employment disputes What employers should do during a heatwave

What are an employer's obligations to employees when the weather gets too hot? Hannah Parsons gives the lowdown.

July 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business How working time regulations can limit your employees’ hours

A study by French researchers has highlighted some of the health risks faced by those working long hours. Sarah Garner, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the specific rules and regulations regarding the working day.

July 2019
Employment disputes When should a condition be classified as a disability?

DAS Law Senior Associate and Legal Executive Tessa Faverty considers this crucial question, drawing on her professional expertise, and personal experience.

June 2019
Employment disputes Can an employer ban working from home?

A recent ban on working from home at BNY Mellon raised questions about what an employee’s rights are when it comes to working from home.

June 2019
Employment disputes Scope of ‘injury to feelings’ expanded by employment tribunal

In employment law, awards for ‘injury to feelings’ have historically been permitted only in claims linked to discrimination, whistleblowing, and trade union membership, but the situation may now have changed.

May 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business When can company directors be personally liable?

The recent High Court case of Antzuzis & Others v DJ Houghton Catching Services & Others is a stark reminder of how company directors can be personally liable for their acts.

May 2019
Employment disputes 10 employment law changes to look out for

Hayley Marles highlights ten changes that HR professionals & business owners need to be aware of, including Brexit immigration rule changes.

April 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business 6 tips for giving your business a “spring clean”

Are your staff handbooks up-to-date? Are your staff taking all of their holiday allowance? Give your business a spring clean with these six tips for a clean and tidy SME.

April 2019