At the point that an employee is placed ‘at risk’ of redundancy, it is vital to remember that it is still a proposal. No matter how unlikely the employer may consider it is that the redundancy can be avoided, they need to approach the consultation with an open mind as to whether the redundancy could be avoided. If the decision to make the employee redundant has been conclusively determined before consultation, this is very likely to make the dismissal unfair.
It may sometimes be tempting for an employer to rush through the consultation process, thinking that the outcome is obvious. However, this runs the risk of the dismissal being found to be unfair if the employee isn’t given a proper opportunity to ask questions and put forward counter-proposals. Where employees have alternative suggestions, employers should give careful though to these and respond properly, even if they seem obviously unworkable to the employer.
The legal position and practicalities around redundancies and employees on maternity leave are tricky to manage and cause problems for many employers. Key points to be aware of are:
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