MD of HPC, Victoria Brown, warns Employers to ensure they follow the correct processes when making redundancies to avoid unwanted Employment Tribunal claims.
With the end of the current job retention scheme looming and an overcomplicated, inadequate job support scheme, many Employers are making difficult choices. According to Acas, more than a third of employers in the UK are likely to make redundancies. Many have also admitted to being unaware of their legal responsibilities around consulting staff. This is extremely concerning and as predicted, we are starting to see an alarming rise in Employment Tribunal claims.
The latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) report the number of single claims made between April and June this year has risen by 18% compared to the same three months in 2019. According to many legal experts, this figure is anticipated to skyrocket over the next 3 months.
Another concerning trend is the drop in claims being disposed of – where the court issues a summary judgment without a full hearing. These fell to 4,496, down 21 per cent compared to 5,695 the previous year. I have personally been the subject of a judge refusing to consider a strike out hearing as it was unprecedented for him to do this online!
This is an unparalleled time, but unfortunately, that will not be accepted as a plea of mitigation in an Employment tribunal. In my experience, I am finding that Employers are making business survival decisions and not conducting a redundancy as they would, with time and consideration on their side. They are making basic mistakes that are causing devastating consequences.
A redundancy is a termination of employment. Therefore as an Employer, you must demonstrate that you have been fair and consistent in your approach to reach your decision. You must use a fair and balanced selection process. As well as, conduct consultation proceedings with those employees with as much warning as possible.
At present, many meetings are taking place online; therefore, Employers need to factor in the difficulties this can create. In addition, the right to representation has not been removed. Meaning regardless of whether the meeting is online or in person, this right must be provided.
Another concern I have is the lack of respect and compassion some Employers are displaying to employees. Employers need to consider those that are in the process and those that will remain. The phrase ‘Bull in a china shop’ springs to mind at present. Many Employers are panicking and making hasty decisions, without considering how the remaining workforce is left feeling. Communication is key during this difficult time and some reassurances to those that remain.
I would strongly advise any Employer that is considering making redundancies to speak to an expert beforehand. This may mean a little bit of time, consideration and small advisory cost at the beginning. But it will save a lot of money and time in the future.
If you need redundancy advice, please get in contact with the HPC team today.
T: 0844 800 5932