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I’ve been working for a company for more than three years now. There was not a lot of work for my actual role that they recruited me for and since employment I have undertaken a few other roles. For the past 20 months I have been doing a very different role. Now my actual contracted role is being made redundant and I have been scored against my skills for that role. I believe this is unfair as I have not been performing that role for such a long time. The work I am currently doing is still ongoing and there is plenty to do and the local management team have said that they will need to recruit to replace me if I am made redundant. Is this fair and do I have a claim?
The definition of redundancy, as is relevant to your particular case, is a reduced requirement of the business for employees to carry out the work of a particular kind. It seems clear from your query that your employer certainly would meet this definition with regard to your original role. Given however that you have performed a new role for the past 20 months, I consider that your terms and conditions of employment may well have changed over time and that this role has become your new employment position. An examination of your contract of employment and any relevant correspondence and conversations you have had with your employer would be required in order to explore the strength of this argument.
In the consultation process, I would therefore suggest that you argue that the reduction in work regarding your original role is irrelevant to you because you are not employed in this position and longer. Furthermore, if your employer persists in arguing that you are still employed in your original role (for example by arguing that the change to your duties were only ever intended to be temporary), you could also argue that your current position constitutes suitable alternative employment for you and that this should have the effect of avoiding your redundancy.
Should your employer proceed to impose a redundancy dismissal on you in the circumstances you describe, I consider that you would have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim against your employer. You should in the first instance appeal any decision to dismiss you on the grounds set out above. If you are not successful in your appeal, you should consider submitting an unfair dismissal claim, which needs to be submitted to the Employment Tribunal within three months of your dismissal. You must also go through the ACAS early conciliation process before a Tribunal will accept your claim.
*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.