What to Do When Faced with Unfair Dismissal Accusations During the Redundancy Process
Dealing with an employee’s claim of unfair dismissal amidst a redundancy process is a scenario I’ve encountered in my in-house HR manager days as well as in my HR consultancy practice. It’s a question that arises frequently with my clients. Despite meticulous preparation, thorough business cases, and adherence to fair processes, employees might assert, “This isn’t right, it’s an unfair dismissal.”
In my experience, in about 8 out of 10 cases, what they truly mean is, “This just feels unfair.” They’re grappling with the emotional weight of the situation, feeling disillusioned about a decision that seemingly contradicts their hard work and the positive rapport they shared with their employer. Rarely does it signify a belief in genuine unfair dismissal.
So, if faced with this accusation, consider the following five tips:
Clarify the Current Stage: Remind the employee that until a final decision is reached, no dismissal has occurred. This can help them engage more effectively in the consultation process.
Don’t panic: Remember, to successfully defend against a claim of unfair dismissal, employers need to demonstrate a fair reason (like redundancy, which is one of the five fair reasons for dismissal) and that they followed a fair process. If you know you are doing that, you’re fine.
Educate About the Process: Start by explaining the purpose of each meeting, the overall process, and what both parties can expect. Providing an internal FAQ document or referring to ACAS guidance can be immensely beneficial for their understanding.
Seek Outside Perspective: If you’re uncertain about any aspect, seeking advice, especially from an external source, can be invaluable. It’s an extra layer of assurance that you’re proceeding correctly. I offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation for new clients so you’re always welcome to book in call with me to chat things through.
Embrace the Appeal Process: If the employee raises the accusation post-dismissal, remember, the right to appeal is pivotal. It provides an opportunity for a thorough review and a chance to rectify any missteps. Engaging a neutral third party, like an independent HR consultant, for the appeal is highly advisable.
If you’re feeling uncertain or need support with your redundancy process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call at your convenience.