Could you challenge your investment banking redundancy? A legal checklist

Office worker

It may be unpleasant, but redundancy can be a fair reason for dismissing someone. Sometimes, however, a redundancy is not what it seems. Jo Plumstead discusses some of the points to look out which could give you reason to challenge the redundancy.

Investment banks will sometimes use unfair selection processes or criteria, will fail to take the right factors into account, will select from the wrong pool, or will even use redundancy as a smokescreen to cover other motives. Those motives might be well-meaning but misguided. For example, the bank in question may want to avoid tackling performance issues head on. There are situations in which it can help to seek legal advice in order to establish whether your redundancy is legitimate. I suggest you do so in the following circumstances. 1. Are 20 or more people being made redundant at your workplace within a 3 month period? If so the employer should be carrying out a collective information and consultation process. Have they – If they haven’t, you may have a case. 2. Are there other people in the same job as you who have similar levels of skill and experience who have not been selected for redundancy? If so, do you know why have you been selected, rather than them – If you don’t, you may have a case. 3. If you have been selected out of a larger group, have the selection criteria been explained to you? No? You may have a case! 4. Are the selection criteria fair, and non-discriminatory, or do they disadvantage a particular group & for example if sickness absence is one of the selection criteria, are adjustments made to ensure disabled workers are not treated less favourably? If a particular group has been disadvantaged, there may be grounds for a discrimination claim. 5. Even where there is no obligation to carry out collective redundancy, it is advisable for employers’to consult individuals before ‘making’ them redundant, if they want to be sure that the dismissal is fair. So, have you been given a chance to discuss the situation, and put forward reasons why you should not be chosen? No? You may have a case. 6. Have you been offered a chance to appeal against the decision? This is good practice rather than compulsory, but it can retrieve the situation where something has gone wrong with’election’ processes. It’s worth asking to appeal, even if you haven’t been told that you can. 7. Have alternatives to redundancy been properly considered & for example redeployment, or negotiating a temporary change in hours? Again a failure by an employer to give any consideration to alternatives to redundancy can make a dismissal unfair. 8. Are you on maternity leave? If so, have any suitable alternative jobs arisen? If so you should be offered the chance to take one. 9. Have you been given the chance to take time off to look for a new job? Employers’have a duty to give you reasonable time off to look for work if you are being made redundant. Jo Plumstead is an employment specialist based near Norwich. Click here to contact Jo. This blog post also recently appeared on the E-Financial Careers’website.