Redundancy and dismissal


From a nationwide study in June 2011 by Key Retirement Solutions:

"More than three out of four (77%) over-50s made redundant in the past three years took a pay cut to get back into full-time employment, with 45% saying they had to take a 'considerably lower' salary. Around 51% have to take a completely different role or work in a new sector to get back into employment."

Redundancy is a type of dismissal and thus redundancies can fall foul of the UK’s unfair dismissal laws. This is particularly true in the case of collective redundancies, as there are more rules surrounding redundancies than for other types of dismissals.


There are two main ways in which a redundancy may fall foul of the UK’s redundancy laws.

First, a dismissal may be termed a redundancy when in fact it is a regular dismissal. This may occur if the reason for dismissing the employee is not one recognised as giving rise to a valid redundancy.

The typical reasons for redundancy include:

  • The position is no longer required either because of technological, business or other requirements
  • The role has changed and will require a different skill set

If an employer dismisses an employee saying it is a redundancy, but then fills that same role with another employee, it is not a true redundancy and is likely to constitute unfair dismissal.

Fair process

Second, a redundancy may constitute unfair dismissal if a fair process was not followed.

Before an employer can make an employee redundant, they must:

  • Notify the affected worker(s) and consult with them about the upcoming changes
  • Discuss the reasons why the employee is up for redundancy
  • Consider all the alternatives avenues to redundancy, for example pay cuts or change of job role

If the employee is entitled, they must be paid their redundancy pay-out. If any of the aspects of the redundancy process are not followed, the redundancy may constitute an unfair dismissal.

The next steps

If you think you have been unfairly dismissed in a redundancy situation, you should seek legal advice from an employment solicitor. An employment solicitor may advise you to take legal action to recover compensation for your unfair dismissal.

At Contact Law we have specialist redundancy solicitors and employment law solicitors on our network located throughout the UK. Whether you are an employee or an employer, we will put you directly in touch with employment lawyers for redundancy advice right for your needs.

For more information on unfair dismissal and how to make a claim at the employment tribunal, see our guidance page on unfair dismissal. Don’t forget, there are strict time limits to bring your claim, so act early.

Are you looking for a solicitor specialising in employment law to represent you for an unfair dismissal case relating to your redundancy? Contact Law can put you in touch with an expert solicitor for your case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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