As City redundancies continue to bite, employment lawyer Philip Landau explores some practical “do’s and don’ts” when you are faced with redundancy.

Barclays have been in the news this week that they are making 3,700 redundancies, although only a few will apparently be in London. But with City redundancies still commonplace, it is worth highlighting a few do’s and don’ts when you are put at risk for redundancy:-

First the do’s:-

  • Do take seriously the consultation process. This is your opportunity to query the rationale for the redundancy and put forward alternatives. If your employer does not enter into any meaningful consultation, this can amount to unfair dismissal.
  • Do ask to see the criteria governing the selection process leading to your redundancy and your scoring, together with the scorings of your colleagues. You are not automatically entitled to see your colleagues scorings, but many employers will disclose this information anyway.
  • Do explore with your employer whether there are any suitable alternative roles. This is an obligation of your employer in any event under the redundancy process, but many will simply supply you with a list of vacancies without entering into a meaningful dialogue on what roles could be suitable. Also, make sure your employer doesn’t insist that you take an alternative role which isn’t suitable. In order to be a “suitable role”, your pay, status, hours of work, location and nature of work you are doing all need to be considered. If you unreasonably turn down a suitable alternative role, you will lose your redundancy pay.
  • Do take time off to look for another job. You are entitled under statue to a reasonable time off for this purpose if you have been continuously employed for 2 years by the date your notice period end. How long you can take will depend on your individual circumstances. Whatever the amount of time off you take, your employer only has to pay you up to two-fifths of a week’s pay for it. For example, if you work 5 days a week and you take 4 days off in total during the whole notice period – your employer only has to pay you for the first 2 days.
  • Do consider with your employer whether it is possible to extend your termination date either by working your notice or being put on garden leave. Many banks will pay you in lieu of notice in a redundancy situation, but it is often better to be on the books for as long as possible as recruiters prefer no gaps in your CV.
  • Do consider whether your redundancy termination payments include a bonus. Most banks will pay a lump ex gratia sum and may tell you that any bonus payment is included, but it’s best to ask for a breakdown.
  • Do make sure you agree a reference before you leave. Often this will be part of a compromise agreement, but you may not be asked to sign such an agreement.
  • Do make sure your employer adheres to the minimum consultation periods where there are large scale redundancies. Where there are 20 to 99 redundancies, the consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals take effect. Where 100 or more redundancies are taking place, the consultation must start at least 90 days before any dismissals take effect.  The government is presently looking to reduce these consultation periods, but this has not yet been implemented.

 

And now a few “don’ts”

  • When you know you are going to be made redundant, don’t send to your private email address confidential information such as client lists, processes or other documents belonging to the bank. The Banks make routine checks and I have seen many exiting employees caught up in unwelcome disciplinary proceedings before they have left by doing this- not to mention putting at risk their termination payments and job reference.
  • Don’t automatically think that you can take clients and colleagues with you if you are under post termination restrictive covenants (usually these are for 6 months).  You would need your employers consent or you run the risk of legal action against you, not to mention putting at risk your deferred stock by losing your “good leaver status”.
  • Don’t issue tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal where you are never going to win. If you have a good case, then fine, but most employers won’t pay up simply because you have issued proceedings and this may affect your marketability for prospective employers. A failure of a redundancy process in itself will not necessarily win your claim if your employer can show that notwithstanding the failure of process, the decision to dismiss you would have still been the same.
  • Don’t resign before the end of your redundancy to start a new job. You will lose your redundancy payments otherwise. It is better to negotiate an early release or start your new job after the termination date of your old one.
  • Don’t speak to any of your colleagues about your negotiated exit if you have signed a compromise agreement. There are strict confidentiality clauses in the agreement and employers won’t be happy if you disclose the terms or even the existence of the agreement to third parties (usually other than your immediate family or as required by law).
  • Don’t speak to clients or colleagues if you have been asked not whilst you have been placed on garden leave. Your employer can’t’ stop you talking, but if they find out and they wish to take action, this could be in the form of disciplinary proceedings as you have not adhered to their lawful instructions. Remember you are still employed whilst you are on garden leave.

As always, if you are in any doubt of your rights, you should take legal advice.

Click here for further information on redundancy

Philip Landau who is an employment law solicitor and partner at London firm Landau Zeffertt Weir Solicitors is pleased to give CityJobs.com users a free initial consultation on any UK employment matter.

If you have a specific enquiry or require further information in relation to your employment law rights, please email Philip at pl@lzwlaw.co.uk or call him on 020 7357 9494.

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