Have I got a case for constructive dismissal: ask the expert

My employer announced that they are closing the building that I am currently working in and relocating my teams over a hundred miles away. They have informed me that my role as their manager is no longer required and have stated that my last working day will be in September. Although they have asked me to look on the internal jobs postings, due to my childcare needs I am not able to work away from my current location and this was clearly stated at my interview. As a Manager I am on three months’ notice and they have stated they will pay me in lieu of notice. As I have only been with the company since last year I am not entitled to redundancy Since they informed me that my role will no longer be required past September, they have extended the period of my staff (who the majority of do not wish to relocate so were also being made redundant) until the end of December 2012. They have now stated that they have taken a small office in another building to house these staff if they do not wish to work from home in the interim. I would like to know if I have a case for constructive dismissal as the role is clearly still there until the end of December and they will still have a building, albeit temporarily.

You have asked whether you have a case for constructive dismissal as your role is still there until the end of December 2012. I understand that your dismissal will be effective as of 14 September 2012.
As your situation involves an actual dismissal, rather than a resignation, the claim you would be considering would be unfair dismissal. In order for a redundancy dismissal to be fair, your employer must establish that redundancy is the real reason for a dismissal and that it acted reasonably, which includes following a fair procedure.
I understand that your staff will be working in their current positions until the end of December 2012 and that your employer has taken a small office in another building to house these staff until the end of December 2012. If your staff still require a manager, then your job should also continue until it is no longer required by your employer, presumably until the end of December 2012.
If your employer dismisses you on the grounds of redundancy when your position is not genuinely redundant, as they appear to have done in your case, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. In order to claim unfair dismissal, you need to fulfil the qualifying service requirement, which, given your start date of February 2011, would be one year. You would therefore satisfy this requirement.
You will need to present your claim within three months of your termination date. However, it is worth noting that even if you succeed in an unfair dismissal claim, any compensation you receive would be limited to the period up to December 2012, at which point I understand your position will be redundant in any event. Your payment in lieu of notice would also be set off against any compensation you receive in an unfair dismissal claim. If you require any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact Tracey Guest at Slater Heelis on 0161 975 3823.

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