I have been told that my job is at risk of redundancy because it is part time. I have been a part-time supervisor for three years. My manager is making redundancies across the site, but I am the only supervisor to be selected. There is currently one other supervisor and they have not been selected. I have been offered a full-time supervisor role. I currently work six and a half hours at night four days a week, but I have always worked more as needed. The only restriction I have is that I can’t work days because I have children. I have tried to explain that I work evenings and my husband works days and that this way there is always someone with the children and I’ll never have to let him down because one of them is sick or it’s the school holiday etc. I feel I am being very responsible by doing this. It has never been an issue before. There is a plan to have 3+ full-time supervisors who will carry out my duties between them. I don’t feel this is fair as he is making me redundant and also recruiting. Do I have a case to appeal?
I understand that you have been put at risk of redundancy on the basis that you work part time. You state that the firm is recruiting three full-time supervisors who will absorb your work and you have been offered a full-time role but cannot do this due to childcare commitments. You confirm that the current full-time supervisors have not been put at risk of redundancy.
A redundancy situation arises where a business has a reduced requirement for a certain role. The first thing to note is that, if your team is expanding, this may not be a genuine redundancy situation.
Under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (“the Regulations”), part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker in relation to the terms of their contract of employment or by being subjected to any other detriment by any act, or deliberate failure to act, of their employer. Part-time workers also have the right to request from their employer a written statement giving reasons for any less favourable treatment to which they have been subjected.
If it is only the part-time workers who have been put at risk of redundancy then this may indicate less favourable treatment contrary to the Regulations. Furthermore, if it is only you, a part-time employee, whose terms and conditions may be changed – i.e. your hours of work changed or removed, then again this may point to less favourable treatment. Employers can try to justify treating part-time workers differently to full time workers but the difference in treatment must be in pursuit of a legitimate aim and any unequal treatment of different classes of employees must be justified by the existence of precise, concrete factors and on the basis of objective and transparent criteria.
Finally, if the other supervisors are male, and have not been selected, then you may have an argument to say that you have been discriminated against on the grounds of your sex.
In the first instance, I would advise appealing the decision and in doing so stating that (1) given that the Company is recruiting staff in your role, it does not appear to be a genuine redundancy situation, (2) it appears that you are being treated less favourably as a part-time employee and (3) (if applicable) you feel you have been discriminated against on the grounds of sex if your supervisor colleagues are male. I would also ask for justification as to why your part time role cannot continue as there is clearly a need for supervisors and therefore, it does not seem like a genuine redundancy situation.
I would advise raising your concerns as part of your appeal, with your line manager or HR. You may also wish to raise a formal grievance in this regard at the same time.
If this is not successful and you are dismissed on the grounds of redundancy then I would recommend you seek legal advice as you may have a claim for unfair dismissal and detriment on the grounds of your part time worker status and possibly discrimination on the grounds of your sex.
*Lucy Flynn assisted in answering this question.