Have you been unfairly made redundant?
Perhaps you have a sneaking suspicion that it was not really a genuine redundancy situation and the employer simply took the opportunity presented by the Covid 19 pandemic to get rid of you.
Or maybe the redundancy was genuine but you feel you were unfairly selected, that someone else should have been chosen and it would have made much more sense.
I have met many employees who have found, or find, themselves in this type of situation. The question arises: what can you do about it?
The main cause of action will be a case for unfair dismissal on the grounds that
- It is a sham redundancy, not a genuine one or
- You have been unfairly selected.
If you can prove that your case falls into one of these categories you may well win your case for unfair dismissal. If you do the remedies open to you, at the discretion of the adjudication officer at the Workplace Relations Commission, will be
- Financial compensation
- Reinstatement (in your old job)
- Reengagement (in a new position in the company)
There is a problem, however. If you have been unfairly dismissed and you prove it was not a genuine redundancy it is almost certain that whatever redundancy payment will have to be offset against your financial loss, as calculated by the provisions of the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977.
This could mean, in effect, that you would be no better off by bringing such a claim. This will depend, however, on two things:
- How long you were unemployed after the termination
- How much of a redundancy payment you received
Let’s assume you have been paid €15,000 redundancy and you succeeded getting a new job within a month of being terminated from the old one. Your financial loss in this situation will be only 1 month’s salary, therefore if you are successful with an unfair dismissal claim you will be looking at financial compensation of 1 month’s salary. Factor in legal fees for preparation for and representation at the WRC hearing and you may decide you are better off putting the whole thing behind you and moving on.
On the other hand you may have been paid only statutory redundancy, let’s say €10,000, and you have been unemployed for 9 months after the termination. In this case you will be better off if you are successful with an unfair dismissal claim and remember you could also win reinstatement or reengagement.
Other considerations which arise will be whether you believe the relationship between you and the old employer is totally ruptured and damaged, or would it be convenient for you to get your old job back, or an alternative position.
A further factor needs to be considered: did you sign a settlement/termination agreement? Because if you did, and you had the benefit of legal advice, you may have waived your rights to bring any claims against your former employer.
You will note that you need to give your situation serious thought and consideration and weigh up all the options, taking into account the issues raised above. You may have additional considerations and factor to consider as each case is unique.