10 questions to ask if you’re made redundant

Ok, imagine the scenario.  You’re told on Friday morning at 9.35 a.m to go to the 7th floor and meet Siobhan, your HR generalist.  Only HR live on the 7th floor, not real people.  You go into a meeting room with her and there is Charles, your line manager or maybe Fiona, who is really quite senior in HR but not usually seen during the hours of daylight.  You’re handed a lengthy letter and told that your role is at risk of redundancy.  What do you do?

Answer: try and get as much information out of Siobhan and Charles/Fiona as you can.  What to ask?

  1. What is the company doing?  Is it a restructure/rationalization/other reason.
  2. Why you?  Crucial – why is your role in the organization no longer needed?
  3. What will happen to your work once you’ve gone?  Will it be divided up amongst remaining people/sent to Bangalore/no longer needed because the business is getting out of that sector?
  4. Who else is at risk?  If your role is a unique one and a layer of management is being stripped out of the organisation, this is less relevant.  But, see next one down. What is the selection criteria they are using?
  5. What is the selection criteria they are using? If there are ten in your team and five are being put at risk, how has the company decided you should be placed at risk, but not Tony who sits next to you?  Selection criteria must be objective as far as possible.
  6. What is your score against the criteria?
  7. How did your comparators score?  Usually HR won’t give you this information because of confidentiality reasons, but you can ask to be given it on an anonymised basis.
  8. How many people in your “establishment” are being placed at risk?  If more than 20 or 100 then time limits for consultation apply.  Get suspicious if HR won’t tell you.
  9.  What other roles are available?  Redundancy should be the last resort.  Employers should try and exhaust all other possibilities before dismissing you.  Have they thought of pay-cuts or unpaid leave, or could they redeploy you to another part of the business, making use of your transferable skills?
  10. What is the timescale for the process?  When will the decision be made?  When will we have the next meeting?

Finally, the 11th question: where can I get some good legal advice on my rights?  Answer: Crane & Staples

I can help you with all these issues, or advise you if you’ve been given a settlement agreement.  Please call me on 01707 329333 or email me at m.scutt@crane-staples.co.uk

Michael Scutt, Employment Solicitor 

Employment solicitor with Crane and Staples, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Blogger & writer. I like cycling, cricket, football and history.