Fair Redundancy

‘I HAVE AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS USELESS AND THEY CAN’T DO THE JOB; I WANT TO MAKE THEM REDUNDANT. HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?’

I am regularly presented with this scenario and have to explain the technical definition of what ‘redundancy’ is.

In essence, a genuine redundancy situation exists where:

  • The business as a whole is closing down. E.g. A restaurant goes into insolvency and is forced to close. This will be a redundancy situation.
  • The particular part of the business in which the employee works is closing down or the business is closing down in a particular location. E.g. A publisher operating from Oxford, Cambridge and London decides to close its London branch which employs 35 staff and move the titles published there to Oxford. This will be a redundancy situation.
  • The business needs fewer employees with the redundant employee’s skills. E.g. A factory has invested in new machinery which will automate work currently done by hand. The factory will no longer need ten skilled workers to make the product but will only require two operatives to run the new machines. This will be a redundancy situation.

If there is no true redundancy situation, the employee is not being made redundant at all but is being dismissed for some other – undoubtedly unfair – reason – what we call a ‘sham process’.

So before getting to the end of your tether with one of your employees call me for an informal discussion and find a fair resolution.