The number of Redundancy related disputes appears to have increased significantly in the COVID-19 era. Many businesses have experienced severe financial strain. In such an environment, it is inevitable that redundancy disputes will arise.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that redundancy is where an employee with two years’ continuous service is dismissed in whole or in part by reason of a closure of the employer’s business, a reduction or cessation of work at the place of employment, or a reduction or cessation of need for employees to do work of a particular kind. Where an employee is made redundant, they may be entitled to a redundancy payment.
Disputes can arise in a number of ways, for example, if an employer asks an employee to work in a different location, believing that the relocation is contractually permissible, but the employee asserts that they have in fact been made redundant and are entitled to compensation; or where the employee disputes that their dismissal is by reason of redundancy and asserts that they were the subject of an Unfair Dismissal.
Claims can be submitted to the Employment Tribunal, however, before a complaint is submitted, the potential claimant must register the dispute with a statutory dispute resolution body, namely the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service or “ACAS”, as it is commonly known. ACAS will contact the potential claimant’s employer to see if the dispute can be resolved without resort to the Tribunal; sometimes this is possible, but often it is not.
At the Tribunal hearing, both parties will present evidence to support their case. Evidence includes Documentary Evidence and Witness Evidence. Each party’s employment law barristers will carry out Examination-in-chief of their own witnesses, and Cross-examination of the opposing party’s witnesses. At the end of the Tribunal hearing, the barristers will make Legal Submissions to the judge. The judge will then decide whether the claim should succeed. Unsuccessful parties can appeal against the Employment Tribunal judge’s decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (often known as the “EAT”) on a point of law only.
Demstone Chambers’ employment law barristers can help with any employment dispute, including: providing advice, drafting documents, preparing bundles of documents for hearings in the Employment Tribunal, and appearing in the Tribunal.