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I have been working part time for five years and my company has now told me I am at risk of redundancy (alongside others in the organisation). However, the role which will replace mine is exactly the same, but full time with more responsibilities. I asked my boss which part of my job is being made redundant and he said that it would remain exactly the same, but become a full-time role with more responsibilities. It will also fall into a lower pay bracket. The new job is open to everybody to apply for internally and I think I am being treated unfairly as I was not offered the new full-time role, but told I would need to apply alongside others. Can I be made redundant in these circumstances?
It is difficult to properly advise you without further details regarding the wider circumstances as the law relating to redundancy in these situations is complex.
It is possible to fairly dismiss an employee for redundancy even if their own role has not disappeared if an employer’s need for the total number of employees has diminished.
However, an employer would have to establish fair and objective selection criteria before deciding on which employees to make redundant and would have to fairly apply such criteria.
Employers also have to properly consult with employees in respect of the proposed criteria and also before making any one employee redundant. It is possible for employees to apply for the remaining positions, but an employee has to be able to establish it acted fairly and reasonably in this process.
Merely replacing a part-time position with a full-time one would not satisfy the statutory definition of redundancy. It may be possible for you to argue that the reason for your selection for redundancy is based on the fact that you work part-time hours and in which case, this would be discriminatory.
You should also bear in mind that if your employer proposes dismissing 20 or more employees, they would be under a duty to consult with the employee-elected representatives and a failure to do this could lead to significant Protective Awards of compensation.
Given that you might have potential claims for unfair dismissal and / or discrimination on the basis of your part-time status, I would recommend that you seek specialist legal advice.
*Alan Lewis is a partner and head of employment at Linder Myers Solicitors and can be contacted on 0844 984 6075 or via email at [email protected]. For more information, including Alan’s profile details and client testimonials, visit www.lindermyers.co.uk.