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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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After 2 years and 10 months employed as General Manager Great

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After 2 years and 10 months employed as General Manager Great Yarmouth Branch, on 23rd April I was hand delivered a letter by a company director from Aberdeen, advising a number of positions would be put at risk of redundancy and affected personnel would enter a period of consultation. I was told my position was at risk due to a re-structure at Great Yarmouth and asked to leave work immediately. I asked how long my period of consultation was and was told by the director that he could not tell me. I asked him how many people were at risk and again he said he could not tell me. I left.

I phoned my Managing Director in Aberdeen to try to get clarity and he did not answer my calls or call me back despite several messages left on his answer machine.

On 24th April I called the Engineering Director who was still in Great Yarmouth. I advised him I had researched on line and that he should be able to tell me how long my period of consultation was, again he said he did not have to tell me. I asked how many people and in what category of employees were at risk, again he advised me he could not tell me. I asked him what is the procedure for the period of consultation and how and when do I get consulted and have the ability to make suggestions and ask questions. He could not tell me. I asked who I should communicate with, he said he would check and find out. He called me later and gave me the name and telephone number of a person in HR in our Glasgow Group HQ.

I called her and was unable to reach her. I called again on Fri 25th April but again she was not available.

Monday 28th I called HR again and managed to reach the HR person. She advised me she had been on holiday and just got back. She knew nothing about my case. I informed her of what had happened and she told me the director should have told me the length of the period of consultation. She agreed to send me the latest copy of our employee handbook and would find out the questions I had been asking. She said she would try to get back to me same day. I had no reply all day.

Tuesday 29th April - no response

Wednesday 30th April, I called the HR personnel’s direct line, no answer but left a message. She called me back to say the period of consultation would end on Fri 2nd May; in 2 days time! I asked her what arrangements had been made for me to consult with the company or vice versa. No arrangements had been made and there appeared no intention to do so. I asked that I wanted a consultation as the period of consultation letter suggested. I also learned from her that I was the only person at risk of redundancy despite the letter stating “a number of positions”.

I want to explore unfair dismissal based on the following facts:

1) I am one of three General Managers; the company has one in each branch, Aberdeen, Lincoln and Great Yarmouth. None of the other General Managers are at risk or are in a period of consultation.
I have since learned that the re-structure of Great Yarmouth involves having one General Manager look after two branches; Lincoln and Great Yarmouth.
I believe all three General Managers should have been treated the same and each of us should have been considered for the two remaining jobs. This has clearly not happened and the Lincoln General Manager who has a shorter length of service than I, appears to have been given the additional responsibility for the Great Yarmouth Branch.
There is a more junior position at Great Yarmouth, that of “Technical Support”. This appointment was made by me on 6th January 2014. Prior to this appointment I was carrying out all the duties of that role. I have not been considered for this more junior role and I would certainly consider it if offered.

Please can you advise if I have a valid and winnable case for unfair dismissal and how I should proceed

Thank you
Colin Clarke
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you please tell me your total length of service with out any breaks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

2 years 10 months

hank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier on. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

There are a number of concerns about this situation and you have correctly identified some of them.

As someone with over 2 years’ service in the company you are protected against unfair dismissal so the employer must ensure that there is a fair reason to dismiss and also follow a fair procedure. Redundancy is a fair reason but there is still the procedure hat is followed and that is where the issues arise.

First there is the selection process. When a redundancy situation arises, there is a legal obligation on an employer to ensure that it applies a fair method of selection when deciding on who is to be made redundant. The general requirement is that a fair and objective method should be applied.

The first step is identifying the pool of employees from which the selection will be made. Often that could be a particular job, a department, even a whole office. The employer only has to show that its choice of pool was within the range of reasonable responses. This could often be linked to the needs of the business, for example a need to reduce a particular expense linked to a team, outsourcing certain work, etc.

The general rules state that when deciding on the choice of pool, the employer should start by considering two questions, which will help them identify which employees should be included:
• Which particular kind of work is disappearing?
• Which employees perform the particular kind of work which is disappearing?

If you all did more or less the same jobs and could cover each other then you should have all been included, especially if one of the other manager will take over your area.

Next is the consultation period. Everyone at risk of redundancy is entitled to individual consultation and this must be meaningful, at least a meeting or two to discuss the reasons for the redundancy, discuss ways to avoid it, allow you to discuss the selection and scoring methods and seek any suitable alternative employment you may be able to apply for to try and avoid the redundancy.

Failure to follow the above could make the dismissal procedurally unfair. You need to go through the redundancy first though so raise these issues, see what happens and if you are dismissed, appeal first before considering the unfair dismissal claim, which you can start through here:

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I can confirm I have had no meaningful consultation, no meetings whatsoever and yesterday I was told by HR that my period of consultation ends on Friday 2nd May 2014 with no advice of any meeting.


The letter I have advises that "a number of positions will be put at risk". HR have told me that only one position, my position is at risk and legally they do not have to offer a period of consultation. However they sent me a letter advising that I would enter a period of consultancy and was asked to leave work and refrain from working during this period, no access to emails, company phone etc.


Since leaving the site I have also learned through friends at the company that Great Yarmouth branch restructure means the General Manager for the Lincoln branch will manage Great Yarmouth and Lincoln. He lives in Lincoln, I live in Great Yarmouth. In total there are three General Managers one each in Great Yarmouth (me), Lincoln and Aberdeen. The General Manager at Lincoln has shorter service than myself. The Lincoln branch is a larger branch than Great Yarmouth with more employees but I don't see that as a reason why that manager is given the role without consultation, a transparent selection criteria being set up or a selection process taking place.


Both of the other General Managers are still at work and to my knowledge have not been advised they are at risk and have not been put on a period of consultation.


I see know reason why I could not be considered for the job of managing both Great Yarmouth and Lincoln in the same way the Lincoln General Manager has been given responsibility for Great Yarmouth branch. This I think is unfair.


I believe the decision to re-organise the companies and to make me redundant was already made by management before I was advised I was at risk. I have not been consulted in any way on this change and redundancy.


What are my options right now and what would you advise?


It is likely I will receive confirmation of my redundancy tomorrow; 2nd May. What would you recommend I do then.


If I was to bring an unfair dismissal case, how much would it cost, can I get no win no fee terms, how much am I likely to win?


My salary is £53,000 per annum and £5,032 per annum car allowance.



Colin Clarke

Hello Colin

The lack of consultation can certainly make the dismissal unfair, together with the other factors I discussed in my earlier response. Now your options really are as follows:

1. You can raise a grievance with the employer which would be treated as a formal complaint and they may change their approach to act within the law
2. If your redundancy is confirmed and you are dismissed you can make a formal appeal to the employer to challenge that decision
3. If the appeal is rejected the final option is to make a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal

A claim would cost just over £1,000 in tribunal fees which you have to pay so it won't be covered in any legal fees you may agree on a no win no fee basis, although I must say that it is not very common for employment matters to be dealt with on no win no fee.

The potential compensation will depend entirely on your ongoing losses. You have a duty to find a new job ASAP and if you soon find a comparable job your losses would not be great and not worth going to tribunal for. However, if you genuinely struggle to find another job for months, then your losses would be larger and it would be worth considering the tribunal route.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
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