Potential redundancy / appeal / tribunal – any advice in the house

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  • Potential redundancy / appeal / tribunal – any advice in the house
  • Hi all. Long time user, created this ID to ask a few questions anonymously about a situation at work…

    A few of our department are being made redundant in the name of efficiency savings (I.e, they’ve run out of money). Consultation has been happening and I’ve ended up in the ‘few’ category so, pending appeal, I will be out of here come Christmas.

    In writing the appeal I’ve realised that I’ve been treated pretty badly recently at work by my boss, and the company has breached quite a few minor points in their consultation process, and there are some very big questions that haven’t been asked of my boss by their boss…

    So I shoved my appeal in recently which is being taken forward by our People people. But as the appeal is investigated I’ve begun to realise that perhaps I don’t want to work here any more. So if my appeal is successful I’m not sure I want to stay.

    Has anybody been through anything like this and can offer me any advice on what to do. Options I’ve considered include withdrawing the appeal, letting the redundancy happen and… Then what? Tribunal? How do I go down that route?

    Or fighting it every step of the way and trying to negotiate a payoff from the company direct? And how do I do that?

    And what if the appeal is successful and I end up being deselected? I then have to return to a role presumably working for the people who are trying to get rid of me (I’m not naive enough to think there’s no reason behind the selection of some of us) and working with some people who are going to be put through the redundancy ringer again because I’ve been successful. This is something I don’t think I should have to face up to. Can I put in a grievance about what I’ve been through and take that to tribunal? Or by appealing have I shot my bolt on that option?

    I can’t access legal assistance through my household insurance policy (long story). I have thought about contacting acas, or going for a free hour with an employment solicitor. Both of these options will have to be on Friday morning, so I’ve got a long day for the hive mind to offer me any advice and words of wisdom.

    Any advice greatly appreciated. Particularly if I end up with a better payoff 😉

    chunkymonkey
    Member

    How long have you worked there?

    project
    Member

    If a company wants you out, then out you go,and if you fight them theyll still find a way, then may well have problems with a new company as youll be seen as troublesome.

    Take the money and go, look for something else, as things are going to get tougher if you stay, from what you say.

    Best of luck in future employment.

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    well chuck in the appeal and ride the wave.. but frankly if your points are as minor as you ve made them sound then come the new year you ll be loooking for work.

    start looking for work now.. no one will be taking on in another month and once janusry comes folk will be being laid off and you ll have to wait till march.. and that 5 years work of redundancy wont buy you a decent christmas treee.

    Murray
    Member

    Talk to the solicitor. If the company have really made a mistake in process they may well settle rather than fight an appeal. Aim would be to get cash but still go. My former employers settled multiple times because managers had not followed process (generally Americans who didn’t realise that Europe is different).

    If the solicitor doesn’t think your case stacks up, just take what’s offered and go.

    Mikeypies
    Member

    Go and see a good employment lawyer and listen to them, make sure you take any paperwork you have and be honest with them.

    They deal with these issues and will be able to guide you

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    +1 Project

    I’ve not seen anyone succeed fighting redundancy, esp if the company has run out of money. The whole consultation requiremnet is a joke, as long as they have one that’s all that matters. It doesn’t have to be fair or just.

    Well, let’s say I already had found work in the same arena. But contracting instead of employed. So no real probs with references, and my customers are very supportive of me right now as I do a good job. Purely speculative, you understand 😉

    I’m just not very good at playing the management bollocks game, but I have been an award winner for 4 of the last 6 years so I honestly think I’m good at what I do.

    Has anyone fought the process all the way and lost out or won through? Did you need legal advice to get there? How should I manage myself during appeal to make it clear that I think the company is the reason I’m leaving?

    Looking more like solicitors every second I type – can anybody recommend acas?

    chewkw
    Member

    +2 Project
    +1 footflaps

    Take the money and run … let them rot …

    Use your energy for something else.

    To clarify – the company is financially sound, but the basis for the redundancy is cost saving dressed up as efficiency.

    slowmart
    Member

    Too many variables to provide an informed opinion but points you may want to consider

    Ask to see your point scoring and the criteria employed to determine the lowest scoring individual. This provides a transparent process which is your right to see. If you don’t agree with the scoring ask your boss to go through this with you.

    This is the first aspect that requires closer scrutiny and most of the criteria should be objectively scored.

    Is the company a company that cuts corners? If this is the case there will be holes in the process which should provide leverage for you.

    However two aspects for you to consider. What do you want? Can you prove you have been unfairly targeted? You need to use available avenues open to you to appeal using the companies internal procedure and if necessary make a grievance based on the issues you consider valid. Though making a grievance after being selected for redundancy will not look great for you. How many others including you are displaced? In relation to others how does your term of service relate to others?

    To defend an unfair dismissal claim the legal bill will be north of £20k to defend in full but rarely do things progress to a full tribunal without compromise agreements being reached between to two parties.

    What ever you do don’t offer to go quietly for terms which favour you. Someone tried this with one of my managers, we were solid legally and we pushed back- hard.

    Restructures are based on cost saving and it should be the weakest performers who go. Invariably some companies will get rid of the cheapest individuals which then provides a foothold for ensuring a legal remedy if rights have been breached.

    Best Wishes as it’s a shit process to go through

    Junkyard
    Member

    its irrelevant why they are doing it or whether it makes sense as it is their company and they can reorganise how they see fit no matter how daft or inept.

    i agree with go as you accept your points are minor, you dont like the job and you have secured work
    Why do you care?
    You may get more money but you may also get a job you dont want and no pay out which is hardly a win.
    speak to the free solicitor once and see what they say IMHO
    I think you like arguing – wonders which big hitter it is 😉

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    A compromise agreement is normally the same amount as your notice period so in terms of redundancy, it won’t make any difference money wise.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Legal bills for these matters can get pretty big pretty fast. What I would suggest is speaking to a specialist employment solicitor, fleshing out your issues with his expertise (even this conversations is likely to run to a good few £100’s) and then speaking with HR about exiting but with an appropriate exit payment as its best for both sides to make a clean break. The employer has to go through the process but prepare an agreement whilst it’s running. Do you know what exit payment you are likely to get, basically your best case is to get a bit more on top.

    Hmm. I have details of the scoring process. Without giving too much away, I went from the 99th percentile to the 1st percentile in just 6 months, but without a single management meeting to cover it off. All the time through this my boss was being supported by their boss and was being explicitly clear that the fault was not in the management team.

    It’s not the breach of process that bugs me so much, it’s the management approach and total lack of support that’s led me to get served with the ban hammer… and my boss is retaining his job. The other people in the poo list are of similar length of service and funnily enough most of them report to the same manager as me.

    The company has always been brilliant to work for, and the pay is ok but the package is brilliant. If I contracted I would lose a stack of benefits and would need ££ to be able to afford to set myself up. The £ on offer is ok, but it’ll take me time to build it up to what I am on now.

    I do appreciate the advice given so far. Keep it coming…

    P.s. junkyard – my wife thinks you’re 100% right about the arguing. But I’m not a big hitter round these parts.

    Yours,

    Fred

    b r
    Member

    Focus your efforts on getting as much money as possible, even if it means your redundant ‘colleagues’ get less.

    Move on.

    My experience? Five times made redundant…

    sobriety
    Member

    I think you can get what’s called a ‘compromise agreement’, whereby the company don’t admit they’ve screwed up but do offer you a larger sum of money to leave, with the proviso that you can’t take them to tribunal afterwards.

    If I’m not making that up entirely, it’s probably what you should be gunning for.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    A compromise agreement is normally the same amount as your notice period so in terms of redundancy, it won’t make any difference money wise.

    Not necessarily true, it depends on circumstances and the size of the foul up(s) made in the redundancy selection process.

    If you fight you need to be prepared to go the whole 9 yards not just bluster. Don’t give up part way through either, your reputation will suffer.

    If you know a good employment law specialist and they advise you the case is solid then go for it. Otherwise walk with what they offer.

    B r and Sobriety – how is what I’m looking for guidance on. The answers above are pretty much all about getting some legal advice, which sounds like the way forwards.

    gordimhor
    Member

    project – MemberIf a company wants you out, then out you go,and if you fight them theyll still find a way, then may well have problems with a new company as youll be seen as troublesome.
    I have quit a job without having new job to go to twice in 30 years working does that mean I am’ troublesome’ too . 😉
    Both times the employer was treating me poorly and I couldn’t stand it any longer. My advice would be to get legal advice cheap or if possible free and follow that. If your employer doesn’t value you , you’re better off some where else so be prepared look for a new job now and accept the offer if that’s what the lawyer recommends
    Edit

    Sandwich – I presume though I have to pull the appeal before I get redundancy and walk?

    If I did that, but also put in a grievance, could I follow that all the way through to Tribunal? Appreciate Slowmart’s point about that not looking great, but does splitting the two exercises up actually help me, or hinder?

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    OP I think all redundancy agreements are called compromise agreements now – what @sobriety is proposing I agree with, a little leverage from a lawyer won’t hurt but you should’t be overaggressive.

    b r
    Member

    B r and Sobriety – how is what I’m looking for guidance on. The answers above are pretty much all about getting some legal advice, which sounds like the way forwards.

    Never bothered with legal advice, nor caused ‘trouble’ but have always made the company aware that it is them not I that require a ‘change’.

    I have though always known exactly what the rules are and how little I could get (legal minimum) – but also known what the company has paid in the past and what my package is worth/cost. Just treat it like a part of your job, and focus on two things:

    1 Most money you can get
    2 New job

    Worst I ever got was 3 months gross, most was 6 months most gross. Also remember to cost in any ‘lost’ pension/holiday etc.

    sobriety
    Member

    b r has it, the most important thing to remember is that it’s nothing personal, just business.

    b r
    Member

    the most important thing to remember is that it’s nothing personal, just business.

    But IME you get more money when it is personal – as HR usually know it too 🙂

    Aidy
    Member

    You should appeal, and fight it properly.

    Appeals processes are (nearly all of the time) just a formality – once they’ve decided they wanted you out, they want you out. I wouldn’t worry that you’ll put together such a convincing argument that they’ll change their minds 🙂

    Putting in a good argument helps in that you’ll possibly get a better payoff, and if not, it’s important if you decide to take it to Tribunal. Make sure you’re aware of the time limits. They’re probably shorter than you think.

    Don’t just take the first offer and walk.

    Premier Icon nano
    Subscriber

    Redundancy is not the same as a compromise agreement.

    That isn’t to say that a compromise agreement could apply in the OP’s case.

    The things that the employer have done seem a bit vague to me. My question would be is it are serious breach or breaches of process or not.

    OP have you sounded out your colleagues? Have they been subject to the same breaches?

    In the first instance I would challenge the employer and give them the opportunity to put things right. If you did go down the tribunal route it would strengthen your case if you could demonstrate that you had attempted to resolve the situation with your employer before resorting to the tribunal.

    As far as advice goes; two things. First, Citizens Advice. That won’t cost you anything and apart from initial (free) consultations there is no such thing as ‘cheap’ legal advice. Secondly, is their union recognition at your employer or within your industry. If so, join the union as they will not only provide advice and support, but (if recognised by your employer) be able to attend your consultation meetings. If you are unsure of how to proceed in a meeting they can often be very useful people to have along. Before I get flamed, not all union reps are militant trots. Most have good experience and in my dealings with them in an HR capacity have often prevented an awkward situation getting worse.

    HTH

    surfer
    Member

    Dont have time to read all the above but!

    Are they offering you statutory redundancy or enhanced? if the latter then this could be withdrawn and if you miss this round of redundancies due to your appeal they may make you redundant at a later date at a less favourable rate. As Project says if they want you out you will be out very soon. Just try to maximise what you get and make it clear that you will work hard until your last day etc and try to maximise your value in the meantime and remain positive.

    Premier Icon nano
    Subscriber

    For the record, an example of a compromise agreement being applied.

    Employee A is the responsible person for one of BIg Co’s operations. Said operation has been given a high profile upgrade where many employees senior to A have been involved in the decision making.

    A has had little say in these decisions but within Big Co structure is where the buck stops.

    One of the decisions made by senior management goes pear shaped and Big Co’s CEO wants is unhappy. A fixes the problem but as the CEO wants ‘heads to roll’ A’s line manager has a ‘quiet word’ along the lines of ‘not your fault, but your responsibility’

    A sum of money is offered and A leaves with immediate effect but with excellent reference provided by Big Co

    Names have been changed to protect the innocent etc 😉

    johndoh
    Member

    Not quite understanding why you want to withdraw your appeal so you can go to a tribunal.

    tinybits
    Member

    Not quite understanding why you want to withdraw your appeal so you can go to a tribunal.

    I think it’s a question of do you have to do so.

    The answer to that is 100% no. You can be made redundant, you then need to appeal, after which you can then take the company to tribunal (within 3 months!) for an unfair process, discrimination etc. If you haven’t followed the full process, the first question will be why didn’t you appeal. Of course, when you appeal and put into place your grounds (unfair , not due process etc) you may well get your job back….)
    Two possible outcomes of a tribunal, 1, there’s nothing wrong, suck it up. 2) Unfair process, £ award. Either way, you need to start the process quickly, and I believe it costs you money to start it rolling now.

    Edit: And to start a compromise agreement, wait until you are in appeal, ask to talk off the record, and say you’ll be open to a ‘without prejudice conversation’ to make this all go away. They’ll know exactly what you mean.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    footflaps – Member
    A compromise agreement is normally the same amount as your notice period so in terms of redundancy, it won’t make any difference money wise.

    Not in my experience…

    tinybits
    Member

    ^ agreed. It’ll be for the statutory plus an awarded sum based on age, wage, likelihood of another job and prevailing wind

    mudsux
    Member

    bear in mind – employment tribunals now charge to register a complaint.
    (July 2013)
    I think its about £400 for an unfair dismissal and at least double for a discrimination claim.

    when the complaint is lodged – it will be reviewed by a judge who will tell you whether there is anything worth pursuing – if there isn’t and you continue down the route of a complaint against his advice you could end up with your own legal bill and the other party’s – if they chase for it.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
    Subscriber

    Walk, but go for a compromise agreement, chances are you’ll get your redundancy and notice period tax free. If you’re made redundant you’ll pay tax on the notice money.

    Unless you are doing exactly the same job with the same job title etc. as someone who is staying (and if you’re office based it’s unlikely) you’re appeal is likely to fall flat. Don’t bother with tribunals etc. pay outs aren’t great and the emotional pressure can screw you up. Take the money, move on.

    I’ve done it five times now, each time I ended up in a better job earning more and (apart from the first) money in the bank from the payouts.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    You can get redundancy tax free only if it’s not ‘salary’, so you need the lump sum to be identified as a redundancy payment and not Holiday pay, pay in lieu of notice, wages owing and bonus payments etc.

    From HMRC:

    However ‘redundancy payments’ (the component paid as compensation for redundancy) are not liable for NICs and in the majority of cases are not taxable up to £30,000. To get the tax and NICs positions right it’s therefore important to identify the various components of the package correctly.

    Thanks everyone for the thoughts, advice and guidance so far.

    CAB this morning, possibly with ACAS and solicitor for good measure.

    What is interesting is how your mind works when looking for help – I’ve gravitated straight to the “quiet word” solution from tinybits, even though slowmart had said that wasn’t the thing to do back on p1!

    Anyway, the appeal’s underway and bits are being looked at and dealt with. Whilst this happens I do feel like the lifeblood is being sucked out of me so lots of you were completely correct there.

    It’s so hard to not react/argue when asked a question about the appeal – I’ve got to learn to let it go and maximise the really valid points while trying to remain sane…

    Thanks again – will post back when I have more news.

    Well, this is all getting very interesting. CAB were useless (they googled ACAS for me) so I have taken a bit of advice from them today.

    Basically, the company has realised that the scoring process has gone wrong and they are giving me the chance to be rescored on several of the key areas that have contributed to me being on the hit list.

    In my mind this is an admission of a flawed process, and it should make the appeal process quite interesting!

    In have an appeal meeting coming up – I will be taking in a colleague – does anyone have any tips?

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