Firms fail over redundancy obligations

Almost 60 per cent of FTSE 500 firms made redundancies in the past six
months, but 40 per cent of these employers were unaware of their legal
obligations when announcing job losses, research reveals.

A survey by law firm Taylor Joynson Garrett and In-House Lawyer magazine
shows that four in 10 HR directors and in-house lawyers were not aware it is a
criminal offence to fail to notify the Department for Trade and Industry when
20 or more redundancies are anticipated.

Jonathan Croucher, employment partner at Taylor Joynson Garrett, said it was
important that employers knew the law when announcing redundancies because
prosecution could result in a criminal conviction or a fine not just for the
company but also for its officers or senior managers.

Nearly 20 per cent of respondents admitted they had been involved in a
redundancy process where those to go had been selected in advance, effectively
ignoring legal consultation requirements.

Croucher said firms which ‘go through the motions’ of consultation over
redundancies risk claims for unfair dismissal and sex, race or disability
discrimination.

One-fifth of the 87 employers which responded to the survey said they used
length of service when selecting for redundancy; 19 per cent use an employee’s
disciplinary record; 15 per cent attendance record and 5 per cent consider age.

"If companies wish to avoid potentially damaging employment tribunal
claims – not least because of the significant potential awards – they must
review current practices," said Croucher.

www.tjg.co.uk

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