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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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After having 3 months recovering from an ankle fracture, I

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After having 3 months recovering from an ankle fracture, I returned to work for 6 days then was told my job was 'at risk' of redundancy due to restructure of the company (x3 people at risk) and was sent home whilst the consultation period process is complete. This was 3 weeks ago. I have had several meetings with them and another due at the end of the week.
I have been told that my full time job is no longer needed. They have asked me to consider applying for jobs within the company of which one is sales rep (not qualified) and the other is my job but part time and only 20 hours per week compared to 37.5. I am not in a position to accept going to part time as it is not viable with travelling costs etc.
18 months ago they employed a management accountant within the department and consequently my work flow has gradually decreased along with a new BI system which was implemented whilst I was on sick leave. If I don't accept the part time position then I will be redundant.
I have been with the company 4 and a half years.
Is their grounds to go to tribunal for unfair dismissal?
Many thanks for your time.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long you have worked there.


I have been employed with the company for 4 1/2 years

Ben Jones :

Hello again, whether you have an unfair dismissal claim will depend on two factors - was there a genuine redundancy and was a fair procedure followed.


Redundancy is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole, or within a particular site or job role. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisations, relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason conformed to the statutory definition of a redundancy.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines a redundancy situation as falling within one of the following circumstances:

  1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed

  2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites

  3. Diminished requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind.

Whilst the first two reasons are self-explanatory, it is the third reason that will be used most commonly and also the one that brings the most challenges.

Examples of when there is a diminishing responsibility to do work of a particular kind are:

  • There is the same amount of a particular kind of work but fewer employees are needed to do it. This would generally be seen as the "classic" situation in which the employer decides to make better use of its resources. This will also include consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out the work that is affected amongst existing employees). This is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to disappear for them to be made redundant, however that is certainly not the case.

  • There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (both the work and the headcount shrink)

  • There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall.


In terms of the procedure, they need to consult with you and offer you any suitable alternative employment that may be available. They do not have to create a suitable job for you, they only have to offer you whatever is available at the time. If there is nothing suitable then you do not have to accept whatever is offered and can opt for redundancy. However, that will not make the dismissal unfair, only if there was a suitable alternative which was not offered to you will potentially make it unfair.

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