Employers unaware of redundancy obligations

Almost
60 per cent of FTSE 500 firms made redundancies in the last 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,
reveals that four out of 10 HR directors and in-house lawyers who responded to
the survey, were unaware that it is a criminal offence to fail to notify the
Department of Trade and Industry when 20 or more redundancies are anticipated.

Jonathan
Croucher, employment partner at law firm Taylor Joynson Garrett, said that it
was important employers were aware of their legal position 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 admit they had been involved in a redundancy process
where those to go had been selected in advance, effectively ignoring legal
consultation requirements.

Croucher
said that firms which ‘go through the motions’ of consulting over redundancies
are opening themselves up to claims for unfair dismissal and sex, race or
disability discrimination.

A
fifth of the 87 employers which responded to the survey, use length of service
when selecting for redundancy, 19 per cent use an employee’s disciplinary
record, 15 per cent the 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 their
current practices."

By Ben Willmott

www.tjg.co.uk

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