Q. I have just been made redundant, yet the company owner’s son who carried out the same job as me has been kept on. Can I take any action?
A. Redundancy as a reason to dismiss an employee is a potentially fair reason for dismissal. However in order to ensure that the employer’s decision is fair the employer is required to carry out a period of consultation and within that period of consultation is required to undertake a fair selection process. I assume that in your case you were the only employee made redundant. The statutory consultation procedures only apply to situations where twenty or more employees are being considered for redundancy. However there is still a general duty on the employer to consult with all of the affected employees. This is something that will need to be investigated before a decision can be made on the merits of your case. Assuming that the owner’s son does carry out the same job as yourself, the employer must select the redundant employee using a fair and objective set of criteria. This can include such things as attendance records, performance records, disciplinary records and length of service. You should ask your employer to identify the method of selection in your redundancy. If he cannot provide a satisfactory response that the criteria carried out by him were purely objective you may have good grounds to bring an Employment Tribunal claim. You should seek specialist legal advice before deciding on whether or not to take any action. You should also remember than any claim to the Employment Tribunal should be brought within 3 months of the date your employment was terminated.
Martin Bloom, partner
*This article was previously printed in The Peterborough Telegraph