Redundancy legal advice for employers soars
In the past two weeks there have been almost 30,000 job losses announced by British companies and, as the global economy continues on a downward spiral, the number of redundancies is expected to continue to rise.
The increase in redundancies has brought with it a significant increase in employers seeking legal advice. ACAS, the advisory and conciliation service, reported on Tuesday that the number of employers and employees seeking online advice on redundancies, layoffs and restructuring has quadrupled in the last six months. In November, the ACAS website received more than 15,000 visits per week regarding “guidance on redundancy issues” compared with 4,000 visits in May.
Shropshire law firm, Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, have also received a substantial increase in employers seeking legal advice of this nature. John Merry, partner and Head of the firm’s Employment Department commented, “It is prudent for employers to obtain legal advice from an employment law specialist before making any dismissals, including in the context of redundancy, or before effecting layoffs or short time working. Common errors from employers who act without advice include imposing layoffs or short time working in breach of contract, and failing to identify the correct pool from which to select employees for redundancy. Employers also often fail to comply with obligation to consult, including collectively, in non-unionised workforces, with employee representatives.”
John added, “Employers often overlook the application of the law of discrimination in the context of redundancy. Women on maternity leave must receive priority when allocating alternative positions. Also, taking into account maternity or disability-related absence when selecting for redundancy can be unlawful; and the once staple selection method of “last in, first out” can now give rise to arguments in respect of indirect age and sex discrimination.”
“Dealt with properly”, John emphasised, “redundancies, layoffs and short time working can produce much needed financial savings for businesses, including by maximising the tax efficient treatment of employees’ entitlement to notice of dismissal. However, if mishandled, tax efficient measures can be overlooked and, worse still, the time and expense of employment tribunal and court claims can be incurred.”
Further information for employers requiring legal advice in relation to redundancy and other employment issues is available from Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors’ team of experienced employment solicitors by calling 01952 211010 or e-mailing email@example.com. Alternatively, find out more about employment law legal advice for businesses at www.lblaw.co.uk