Employer ordered to pay €34,000 due to flawed redundancy procedure

The Workplace Relations Commission awarded over €34,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal to a language teacher who was dismissed on the grounds of redundancy.

The Adjudication officer (AO), in ruling in favour of the complaint, was particularly critical that the company did not engage in any form of consultation with the employee or make any attempt to explore alternatives. It was also negatively viewed that the claimant failed to receive a redundancy lump sum until seven months after the redundancy had taken place and also that her P45 was not issued, which led to her encountering problems in securing social welfare assistance/another job. In making the award, in addition to the redundancy lump sum already paid, the AO held:

“All in all, the complainant has been treated shabbily by her former employer. The manner in which she was dismissed was unfair: procedures were non-existent and the rules of natural justice ignored.”

From this case, it is clear that it is of utmost importance that an employer follows a fair and transparent process when implementing any redundancy. I have set out below some of the key steps in a redundancy procedure: 

  • Engage with employees at an early stage regarding any proposed redundancies, explaining the rationale and getting agreement on the selection method that will be used
  • Before any compulsory redundancies are implemented, explore all alternatives such as voluntary redundancy, reduced hours, lay off etc
  • Consider redeployment to any alternative positions that might be available within the organisation
  • Consider any proposals put forward by the employee(s) concerned and explore these fully with the employee
  • Give the employee(s) a right to apply for and to be considered for any new roles being created
  • Ensure notes are taken at each meeting and request that the employee(s) sign these to confirm they are an accurate reflection of the items discussed
  • Give the employee(s) an option to be accompanied at the meetings
  • Consider offering a right to appeal the redundancy decision.

For further information on redundancy, consult the SFA guideline or contact Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive, on 016 05 1668 or ciara.mcguone@sfa.ie.

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