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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44957
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been in my current role for 3 years. My employers are

Customer Question

I have been in my current role for 3 years. My employers are undertaking a reorganisation of the department and they have completely changed my role, renamed it and are intending to make me redundant. Can they do this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me whether you have been offered this new role

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Dear Ben

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

No I have not been offered this new role.

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Rosemary

Ben Jones :

Hello Rosemary, redundancy is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole, or within a particular site or job role. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisations, relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason conformed to the statutory definition of a redundancy.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines a redundancy situation as falling within one of the following circumstances:

  1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed
  2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites
  3. Diminished requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind.

Whilst the first two reasons are self-explanatory, it is the third reason that will be used most commonly and also the one that brings the most challenges.

Examples of when there is a diminishing responsibility to do work of a particular kind are:

  • There is the same amount of a particular kind of work but fewer employees are needed to do it. This would generally be seen as the "classic" situation in which the employer decides to make better use of its resources. This will also include consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out the work that is affected amongst existing employees). This is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to disappear for them to be made redundant, however that is certainly not the case.
  • There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (both the work and the headcount shrink)
  • There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall.

Now if your job still exists but has simply been renamed you can expect the employer to offer this new position to you under their duty to offer you suitable alternative employment. If they do not they could be guilty of making the dismissal unfair. If you were eventually made redundant you can appeal the employer's decision and finally you may also consider making an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal.

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Dear Ben

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Thank you for your reply. I know that this is not an exercise to save money, as my position still exists, has been upgraded, renamed and extra duties added. I was asked to do the costings of all the various scenarios and each variation either costed the same or more. The headcount was the same or more too. We have been called to a meeting this Friday when we will start the 90 day consultation period. I have already been advised that my position is at risk and the new post will not be automatically given to me. I have to re-apply and that there is no guarantee I will be given it. I am at a loss to understand why my position has been changed. Certainly I have had nothing but praise and at no time has my line manager intimated that they are unhappy with me.

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Thanks

JACUSTOMER-t13uqusv- :

Rosemary

Ben Jones :

Hello again, it is not necessary to have a cost-cutting requirement in order to go through a redundancy situation, as long as the definition as explained in my above answer is met. Also when the employer offers suitable alternative employment they only have to offer you the job in a sense that you can apply for it - you may not necessarily be guaranteed the position but need to be offered the opportunity to apply for it at the least. In any event your rights are still as explained above in terms of what you can do about it if you are unhappy.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

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