Q&A - Should employer offer me alternative work as an option to redundancy?

Q. My employer is closing its chicken feed factory and fifteen of us have just been told we are losing our jobs. Most of the staff on the production side are Eastern Europeans and I think the company is doing this in case there are any issues after Brexit. I work in the office doing an admin role but am one of those being made redundant. I think this is unfair because my employer has another factory, 25 miles down the road, which makes ferret food.

I could potentially travel to the other factory, although it wouldn’t be ideal. I would rather this than lose my job entirely. Does my employer have to consider offering me a job at their other factory as an alternative to redundancy?

A.  The closure of a workplace at a particular location can amount to a redundancy situation. A responsible employer should consult with its employees to ensure that the process is fair for unfair dismissal purposes and for good industrial relations.

Ultimately, the fairness of a decision to dismiss for redundancy depends on the reasonableness of the employer’s actions. The employer should consider whether the affected jobs can be transferred to another site. If there is a role for you at the other factory then consideration should be given to offering you the job. You should raise this with your employers if you have not already done so.

The ability to move may be limited depending on your contract of employment. If there is a mobility clause which includes provision for relocation expenses or additional travelling time then the employer could take these into account in deciding whether to offer you the job. You may be able to negotiate on these points. Ultimately if you are made redundant you will be entitled to notice and a redundancy payment.

Article 25/02/2019

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham