Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.
According to Section 139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, redundancy occurs if a dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to one of the following circumstances:
1. Business closure – the whole of the employer’s business is closed
2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of the actual workplace where the employee worked
3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind
Generally, redundancy occurs when an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole, or within a particular site, business unit, function or job role. There are various reasons why this may happen, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisation, workplace relocation, etc. The reasons for the proposed redundancies can rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that they satisfied at least one of the statutory definitions of redundancy above.
The third reason, where there is a reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, is the one that is often misunderstood. Many people think that a job has to actually disappear for there to be redundancy. However, that is not the case and a job can still continue to exist, whilst employees who perform it can be made redundant. For example:
- The same amount of work remains but fewer employees are needed to do it (this can include consolidation of jobs by spreading out certain duties amongst existing employees or outsourcing the work to contractors) – this is most likely the scenario you are facing.
- There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (e.g. when a client reduces their work with the employer)
- There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall (e.g. having to reduce employee’s hours)
As long as the employer can show that their situation fell within one of the official definitions of redundancy, the initial test will be satisfied and the focus then shifts on the remainder of the redundancy procedure, which must be conducted fairly. That would look at how the employer chose the pools for redundancy, what consultations they held with the affected employees and whether any suitable alternative employment was offered to those at risk.