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Nicola-mod
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Category: Employment Law
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I am currently in "at risk", as from Friday 29th November and

Customer Question

I am currently in "at risk", as from Friday 29th November and my consultation meeting is on Thursday. I've been asked not to carry on as normal, transfer phone to the office, forward emails and not contact customers. Is this normal?
Also, the company has put out statements to customers about the forthcoming restructure, before I have received formal structure information (only that there will a restructure). Is this allowed before I've had my consultation meeting?
I have a company car and the company made me relocate in May (I did get a relocation package for 6 months, but stuck in a 12 months tenancy, which the company is aware of), what questions can I ask them for compensation?

I really appreciate your response and advice.
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 :

How long have you worked there for?

JACUSTOMER-tmy75ueg- :

Hi Ben,I have worked for the company for 6 years.

Ben Jones :

what is the reason for the proposed redundancies?

JACUSTOMER-tmy75ueg- :

They are apparently "restructure the trading in the builders merchant channel", that's it. Customers are being told that they are removing themselves from one product range and market, but the remaining product is still available. The remaining product line is profitable and would require staff to manage that customer channel.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

Whether you are entitled to any compensation or not will depend on a couple of things - was there a genuine redundancy situation and was a fair redundancy procedure followed. Failure to satisfy either can make the dismissal unfair and allow you to challenge it in an employment tribunal.

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.

So consider whether your situation fits into any of the above because the employer will have to justify that the statutory definition of a redundancy applies to your situation to be able to treat this as a redundancy.

When it comes to the procedure, they need to consult with you, which they appear to be doing, but also to discuss the reasons for the redundancy, seek out alternatives and offer you any suitable alternative employment that may exist.

Unfortunately there is little responsibility the employer will have over your tenancy because a redundancy situation can crop up at any time and there is never a guarantee that you will remain in employment, unless you had a fixed term contract which engages your services for a fixed term.

So to b able to negotiate any compensation you have to show that there was either no genuine redundancy or that no fair procedure was followed.

JACUSTOMER-tmy75ueg- :

Ok, got all that. But is it ok to tell customers of the plans of the restructure before the staff do.

Ben Jones :

that is possible, especially if it can affect the business done with the customers and the employer needs to tell them as soon as possible. There is no list of priority when it comes to discussing the proposed restructure as long as this is discussed in the consultation meetings you have

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?

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an unrated answer waiting for you here from the Professional.

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Thank you,
Nicola

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