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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 61704
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am representing my wife at an employment tribunal

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I am representing my wife at an employment tribunal regarding unpaid redundancy and notice money. The company's solicitor has told me that because my wife cannot drive and because the only jobs available for my wife was for a driver, then her ex employers owe her nothing. However, the lawyer has offered £4500.00 as a deal to settle. This is about half of what she should be paid. Is this deal fair or is my wife entitled to the full amount. The deal was offered through ACAS.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No, They will nmot talk to me. They have however, told my wife that they are going to contest our claim. I am not sure though that this is the case.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: No, I am just going to represent her. Unfortunatly we are in a position that we cannot afford a lawyer.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Basically, I have covered the main things.

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

Why was notice pay not paid?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My wifes contract of employment states that she is entitled to 12 weeks notice, she has worked for the company for 16 years. However they have only paid her four weeks notice pay.

Have they said why they have not paid the rest?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Ok
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My wifes company has told her that after consulting their solicitor, they do not have to pay her more than the four weeks notice that she has received.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No, they have told her nothing.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Can you tell me if they have a fair defence? I personally feel that they are just trying to get away with paying a lesser amount than they should be paying.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Are you still on line or has this conversation ended?

Tom be honest, I have no idea of how the lawyer has arrived that this conclusion but legally it is not correct.

If there is a redundancy situation, the employer has a duty to make a reasonable search for suitable alternative employment (SAE). If such positions exist they must then be offered to those at risk of redundancy. The objective is to avoid having to make someone redundant and keep them in a job.

If the offer is considered suitable and the employee unreasonably rejects it, they will be deemed to have resigned and would not be made redundant or be entitled to a redundancy payment. If the offer is unsuitable and they reasonably reject it, they can still be made redundant and receive redundancy pay.

If they have offered her a driving job and she cannot drive, then clearly this is not SAE because it is not suitable to her current circumstances. Therefore, if she has not applied for it or even considered it, she has not done anything wrong as that is a reasonable rejection based on her not being able to do it as she simply dies not have the skills to do so. Unless there were any SAE positions which she unreasonably refused, she would have had to be made redundant instead and receive redundancy pay.

As to the notice period, I cannot see why they can reduce it from the contractual 12 weeks to just 4 weeks. They may try and argue that she had unreasonably refused a suitable alternative but in reality that was not the case. In any event, even if she had resigned she would ae still been due the contractual notice period due to her.

Does this answer your query?

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you that is excellent Tom.

All the best