Redundancy is a minefield if you take chances. You must remember that employees now know their rights better than ever before. They have lived through a time when friends, family and work colleagues have been laid off – there is also a lot of information readily available for them online.
Employees have picked up a great deal of information about their rights. We say to Employers “your employees know their rights – do you?” Some businesses are now facing into a second phase of redundancies. In that instance, you can be guaranteed that staff know their entitlements even better than they did for the first phase. If you don’t follow process, or if you make a false move, it could cost you – you could quite easily end up in the Labour Courts with an Unfair Dismissal case on your hands.
Unfair Dismissal cases are very common these days and they are very difficult for employers to win as the onus is on the employer to prove that he or she made the correct choices when letting someone go. Proving that a redundancy, for instance, was necessary is essential – making the position, not the person, redundant is crucial – an employer cannot make an employee redundant and then hire a new staff member to carry out the same tasks the following week. Commissioners will scrutinize every detail and decision and will want to see that the employer has dotted every “I” and crossed every “T”.
Employers have a 50/50 chance of leaving Labour Court hearings with a large figure to pay out – it is important to remember that a huge number of cases are also settled prior to court proceedings so the odds are heavily stacked against the employer coming away from the Court with no fine on their hands.
Without a doubt redundancies can be required to keep a business viable. Employers need to ensure that they make their decisions based on what’s best for the business – not because they want to get rid of Danny the storeman who you feel hasn’t done a tap for years. Before making people redundant, look at the business overall and see what areas are suffering a downturn, what areas are picking up, and how best you should react to changed circumstances.
A Selection Matrix will help to clarify your thoughts and take the personalities out of the decision – and also ensure that no-one can accuse you of using redundancy simply to remove people you don’t like from your company. As a business owner or manager, you are entitled to make decisions that make business sense. So establish the logic of any decision before you make it.