OR not, as is reportedly the case of the lunchtime supervisors at a Corby school who discovered their forthcoming redundancy by an email mistakenly sent to them.
Whatever the facts, in the way it was reported, the story brings to mind actions more likely associated with Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol rather than standards expected given the employment laws of today.
It is accepted that the end of the year that can see an increase in redundancies as a result of budget exercises taking place ahead of the New Year.
In such instances, employers should bear in mind the following:
1. Whilst redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss, a fair procedure should be implemented from the outset. Such a procedure should involve consultation with the appropriate individuals - that consultation exercise should be designed with a view to minimising, if at all possible and in a variety of ways, the impact of any actual redundancies.
An indication, at the very outset of a process, that a number of employees will be made redundant can ultimately result in a finding of unfair dismissal thus causing an employer both extra expense and reputational damage which could have otherwise been avoided.
2. Communications should be couched in terms appropriate and in keeping with a fair process - failure to do so may well undermine the credibility of any employer who seeks to argue the process was fair and employment law compliant.
It is well accepted that, despite best intentions and endeavours of authors, their communications can go astray - especially where emails are concerned.
A situation is best mitigated if in the communications evidence, at least, a fair and proper process is to be/is being implemented.
If you have any questions arising as a result of a redundancy exercise involving you or your business, do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team at Wilson Browne Solicitors on 0800 088 6004.