PO Box 28287
Telephone: 0131 662 6988
Fax:0131 667 8175

23 Cramond Glebe Rd
Cramond Village
Telephone: 0131 336 1619

Free EnquiryRedundancy Scotland

What are Your Rights?

Why have I been made redundant?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that employers sometimes need to reduce the number of employees who work for them. Reasons might include the development of new technology that means there are other ways for work to be conducted, possibly with more efficiency and less margin of error. It might be that the job an employee is hired for no longer exists. Rising overheads are another possibility - the employer may simply have to reduce the number of workers on his payroll to reduce costs that are potentially threatening the business. As a worst-case scenario, the business itself might be closing or even relocating. However, according to the guidelines laid out by the Government, whatever the reason for redundancy, there are certain protocols and legislation that the employer must observe, including the possibility of a redundancy payment.

What should I be aware of?

Redundancies of more than 20 employees are considered to be ‘collective redundancies’. If less than 20 workers are to be dismissed, these are known as ‘individual redundancies’ and there are very strict guidelines governing the procedures involved. Those to be made redundant must be selected fairly; if the employer is taken to task on his reasons and they are found to be unfair, this can result in a case for unfair dismissal. The employee should be warned and consulted about the impending redundancy; this gives him time to consider his response and, if the dismissal is not to be challenged, it gives time to search for alternative employment.

Employers also have a duty to take reasonable steps to redeploy any affected employees within the business, if it is at all possible, and he must have considered any alternatives to the redundancy before acting on it. Employees should check that they are given the right amount of notice in accordance with their contract, and should find out if they are entitled to any redundancy pay. If any of these terms are not carried out, there may be cause to take an employer to court.

Unfairly dismissed?

If you feel you have been the victim of an unfair dismissal, there are certain things you should do. Your first port of call should be an employee representative such as a union official. They should have the best interests of all the employees at heart and have a working knowledge of all the regulations pertinent to your dismissal. A union official should be able to determine whether or not you have a case to take up against your employer and may be able to offer you help. If this is not possible, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) offers free, impartial and confidential advice on all employment rights issues.

Many employees facing dismissal feel that taking a stance against redundancy might tarnish their reputation and make it harder for them to find further employment. This should never be the case. An employer should be able to show that his reasons for dismissing an employee are entirely justified and for no other reasons than a professional one. In challenging a decision of this sort, an employee is simply responding to a professional decision in a professional way.

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