How to appeal a redundancy decision
If you are looking to appeal a redundancy decision or you suspect your employer may be looking to make redundancies due to the COVID19 situation, it is in your best interests to verbally record every conversation or meeting you have with the company going forward and any co-workers you speak to thereafter if you are not already doing this.
This may seem morally wrong, but if you find out you were mistreated from a coworker, a line manager or anyone else associated with the company and decide to take the company to a tribunal, these recordings can be submitted in evidence to help your case. Just ensure that your voice can be clearly heard in the recording and you must be actively taking part in the conversation.
If you have any recordings, DO NOT let your employer, the company or any co-workers know at any point you have them or are recording them. These recordings are for YOUR personal use to have exact notes of conversations with your employer and other staff members and for potential future tribunal purposes.
The most important thing is to be 100% sure that the process that the company used to make you redundant was fair and that everyone in the process was treated the same. If you have evidence that the process was not fair, you need to appeal.
When keeping records or notes about anything, the best way is to either record it on a device (iPhone voice notes, dictaphone or some form of recording device that has a date and time function) or you can email notes to yourself. That way you can keep a record of dates and times and names of people involved.
If everything is taking place over the phone, go to a quiet room, set your phone to the speaker and use another device to record the conversation. Make sure you speak yourself during the call, otherwise you will not be able to use the recording at a tribunal if your voice cannot be heard.
At your redundancy meeting or phone call, you will have either been given a letter or email from the company advising the following:
- Letter confirming your redundancy that includes information on how to appeal the decision.
- The letter should contain the name of the person you should appeal the redundancy decision to and whether this has to be sent in writing or whether it can be emailed.
- The letter should confirm the date that you need to submit the appeal by.
- If you did not receive a letter/email or the procedure was unclear, contact your employer by email or in writing straight away and ask them for a copy of their redundancy appeal procedure and a copy of your redundancy letter and how to appeal information. If they do not have a redundancy appeal procedure, contact ACAS and they will give you guidance on what you and the company need to do.
Redundancy Appeal process
Once you have your companies redundancy appeal process, follow it. If you do not have a copy of it, request it from your employer straight away.
- Advise your employer in writing by post and by email as soon as possible that you would like to appeal the redundancy decision.
- Set out the reasons why you feel the process was unfair.
- Set out clearly why you feel that your position should not be made redundant and ensure that it is emailed and/or delivered to the company before the deadline given in your redundancy letter.
- Send your letter by email and by post as quickly as possible as there may be a deadline set by the company to submit your redundancy appeal.
- If you do not receive a response on the date that you expected it, send an email to your employer requesting a response. Do this every few days until you receive it.
Gathering documentation from your employer (do this whilst you are preparing your redundancy appeal letter or immediately straight after sending it).
If there were any doubts about any part of your employment, now is the time to email the company and ask them about it.
- Number each question and make the questions as clear as possible.
- Ask the company to confirm in writing what process they used to select employees for the redundancy process.
- Ask whether there were any other pools or specific departments within the wider pool of persons selected for redundancy. If the response is not clear, ask them to clarify further.
- Ask for a copy of the company’s redundancy process and procedures.
- Ask for a copy of the company’s grievance procedure.
- Ask for a copy of the handwritten and typed notes from all the redundancy meetings.
- Ask for a copy of any documents used to base your redundancy decision (appraisals, HR records of your attendance, punctuality etc).
- If in your mind you have decided that if the redundancy appeal process fails you will take your employer to a tribunal, you have three months less a day to apply. Follow this guide on how to submit a claim for an employment tribunal.
The company will then invite you to attend a hearing which may take place over the phone.
The hearing should be chaired by an impartial person (someone who was not directly involved in the selection process). If this is not possible, the company should arrange for a more senior member of staff to chair the hearing. If that is not possible, the company can use a consultant.
- Bring a pad and a pen and take notes if held face to face.
- If being held over the phone or on Zoom, record the hearing on a dictaphone/iPhone voice notes or some form of recording device. This will enable you to concentrate on the hearing without the worry that you will not have taken any notes during the meeting. If using iPhone voice notes, make sure you turn your phone to airplane mode. That way the recording will not be interrupted or stop recording when calls come through. You can then use this recording in a tribunal at a later date as evidence. Do not tell the person you are recording them, you are not obligated to do so as these are your personal notes of this meeting.
- You are able to bring a colleague or trade union representative to this meeting if face to face. If this is refused, you should query this with your employer.
- If a difficult line manager/colleague is conducting the hearing, you can state that you are not comfortable with this person doing it. Suggest it could be someone from Human Resources or a person higher up in the company or a consultant.
- Only you and the person conducting the hearing are allowed to speak. Your colleague and/or representative should not attempt to speak on your behalf. If your employer has anyone else in the hearing, they are also not allowed to speak.
- If the person chairing the meeting becomes unprofessional and/or is clearly not behaving impartially, say it.
- If the conduct of the person chairing the hearing becomes unacceptable (i.e. shouts, continually argues with you etc), you have the right to suspend the hearing and address the behaviour before continuing. To address the behaviour, advise the person that you find their behaviour uncomfortable and to keep the hearing professional. If the behaviour continues, you have the right to suspend the hearing and request for a further hearing to be arranged.
- You can use the hearing to discuss how both parties will deal with your return to employment if your appeal is successful. You should also ask how the company will deal with the appeal if you are not successful. Because you have recorded it, they will be bound by it.
- Once the hearing has ended, you should request a copy of the handwritten notes taken by the person chairing the meeting or the minute taker in the meeting at the time (not a few days later). This should be copied and given to you before you leave the building or scanned and emailed to you whilst you are on the call. This ensures that the employer/minute taker is unable to modify the notes in any way after the hearing has ended.
After the Hearing
- You should expect a response in writing from the company within seven days.
- During this time, if you have recorded the hearing, you should type up the notes and email them to yourself. Ensure that you download the recording and also email the recording to yourself and keep it in a safe place.
- You should check the recording against the minute taken by the employer. Make a note of any discrepancies – you may need to use these later for a tribunal.
- If once you listen to the recording, and you are unhappy with any part of how the hearing was conducted, you should consider escalating the appeal to a more senior person at the company in writing. If you are happy with the recording, you should wait for the outcome from the person who chaired it.
When you receive a response
If you receive an unsatisfactory response
- You should appeal again (escalating it to the most senior person in the company). We recommend that you contact the Chairman and the CEO in writing. In the meantime, you should contact ACAS to use their conciliation service.
- If you decide that you want to take your employer to a tribunal, you should liaise with ACAS and follow our guide on how to submit a claim for tribunal here.
- If you were bullied at work by co-workers or line managers, you should submit a subject access request to your employer to request all records that the company holds about you that specifically includes your name. If anyone at the company has bullied you whether directly towards you or about you, you will then be able to see exactly what co-workers and line managers have specifically emailed other staff members about you.
If you receive a satisfactory response
- If the outcome is satisfactory and you return to work, you should protect yourself against any issues when you are back at work.
- If you are called to any meetings, ensure you record them. If you are treated badly by anyone at work, you should send an email to yourself with the date, time and detail of the behaviour to keep a record of it.
- Where you can, keep your dictaphone/recording device with you in case of any further incidents occur.
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