Generally, your job must disappear for you to be made redundant, but
it can also happen if someone else's job disappears and they are moved
into your job, making you redundant.
This is known as redundancy bumping (a.k.a. transferred redundancy), which often happens when a more senior employee is prepared to take a more junior role to avoid redundancy.
Redundancy bumping rules became a hot topic for employers this year, as the recession hit and they looked at different ways to cut costs and shed staff.
Bumping-related legal issues fall into two categories:
- Unfair bumping redundancy; &
- Unfair dismissal without considering bumping.
Unfairly bumping an employee
Employers are not allowed to just bump employees out of their jobs willy-nilly. There must be a genuine redundancy situation and the dismissal of the employee must be caused by that redundancy.
Employees have a number of other legal rights in relation to redundancy, including:
- a right to consultation before redundancy to discuss alternatives (NB. employers must consider alternative employment for employees before
they dismiss them);
- a right to fair and objective redundancy selection criteria and
- a right to an explanation of the reasons for dismissal and the basis of
- a right to appeal against redundancy;
- a right to try any alternative offer of employment for four weeks;
- a right to notice period or payment in lieu of notice;
- a right to take reasonable time off, with pay, to look for alternative work
or training; &
- a right to a redundancy payment, provided the employee satisfies eligibility requirements.
Unfairly dismissing an employee after failing to consider bumping someone else
In certain circumstances, redundancy dismissal can also be unfair if an employer fails to consider bumping someone more junior to accommodate the dismissed employee - even where the dismissed employee fails to mention he's willing to take a subordinate position.
Whether or not an employer must consider bumping is a question of fact for an employment tribunal and depends on a number of factors, including:
- whether there is a vacancy;
- how different the two jobs are;
- the difference in remuneration between the two jobs;
- the two employees' relative length of service;
- the qualifications of the employee in danger of redundancy; &
- any other relevant factors which may apply in a particular case.
** Additional Information & Advice **
Depending on your situation, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
And, again depending on your situation, they may be able to help you find a solicitor who will agree to take your case on a "no win no fee" basis, which means you don't have to pay for the solicitor's services unless you win your case.