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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50181
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My wife was just told she is being made redundant today. She

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My wife was just told she is being made redundant today. She was given no time to prepare for the meeting and she was not told what the meeting was about until the meeting with her boss started. She was told that the company doesn't have enough work for her anymore. When she started in this job (June 15 2015) as a personal assistant to the MD she performed various tasks including dealing with wholesale clients orders and general office support. A few months later they hired another person that took over the tasks dealing with clients and the MD was increasing reluctant to delegate work to my wife, without giving any reason. Can we challenge this decision in any way?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Please can you tell me if your wife wishes to continue in this role or if not, what the ideal outcome would be for her given the circumstances? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not sure because she only came out of the meeting a few hours ago and she was very upset. I can imagine that it would be difficult for her to come back after this considering that it looks like her boss is trying to squeeze her out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On second thought I think she would like to continue in the job. She loved it when she started working there and it is only after they hired another person that took over part of her tasks that things started to deteriorate.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court for the rest of today so will prepare my advice in a while and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. The main issue here is that if she has been continuously employed at her place of work for less than 2 years then her employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, she will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that her employer can dismiss her for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because she was trying to assert any of her statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity leave, etc.). So they could decide to make her redundant when there is not even a redundancy situation or do this without following any fair procedure or selection.

If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then she would not be able to challenge it and her only protection would be if she was not paid her contractual notice period, because unless she was dismissed for gross misconduct, she would be entitled to receive her contractual notice period. If she did not have a written contract in place she would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Her employer would either have to allow her to work that notice period and pay her as normal, or they will have to pay her in lieu of notice.

So unless she can show that there were discriminatory reasons behind the employer’s decision, sadly it would not be possible for her to challenge the termination.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Ben,after your reply and accepting that there isn't much we can do about this situation (from a legal perspective) we decided that my wife should send her employer a letter explaining her experience and views about this. It also explains a bit better the sequence of events that lead up to the redundancy. This probably doesn't change anything but I wanted to run it past you anyway to make sure we have tried our best. Here is the content of the letter:"Dear all,It is not my style to send emails like this but in this situation I want to make my opinion clear about how this dismissal unfolded under my nose without being able to do anything about what felt like a premeditated situation.In March this year the position of Customer Relations Manager was available at Zaytoun but I was never offered the position even if from June 2015 to March 2016 I was in charge of the wholesalers orders which is realy part of this role.
I asked if I could fullfill this position instead of going through a whole process of recruitment, but I was assured that my direct manager, the Managing Director, had other tasks and work for me to do which will keep me busy. This never materialised.
I then offered to keep doing the wholesalers orders which again was refused based on the fact that it was not part of my job description. However this made no sense as I had done other tasks, when I joined, that were not part of the official job description (i.e. producing direct marketing material, part of the recruitment process for the position of Financial Manager, changing the IT system, organising our presence in Trade shows (from start to finish)...)From March 2016 basically my tasks had suddenly shrunk, and kept shrinking to the point where it was almost humiliating to ask time after time (by email or verbally) to have something to do. This again made no sense as I was the PA to the Managing Director, who was always busy, but will not delegate work to me and made me less and less involved.I genuinely kept thinking and was reassured that there will be things to do for me i.e. we just had updated part of our packaging which will have resulted in at least creating new direct marketing material.So I would like to ask the question: if it was known since months that this position was redundant why I was not dismissed before?I would also want to ask: what was kept in mind for me to do that was not there anymore to do for me as a PA?If I had know that this position with Zaytoun was not permanent I would not have left my previous job and joined Zaytoun.Now this situation put my person and my family in a difficult position that I was not expecting and took me by surprise.
I genuinely thought there were still so many things to do for this company, which I joined because I really believed in the cause and the work they were doing."

Hi there, you are correct that unfortunately it does not change the legal position because none of these factors would give her any right to challenge the dismissal. However, she has every right to question the way it was done and raise these issues. The employer is not legally obliged to consider this though or even issue a response but hopefully they would act professionally and at least try to explain themselves.