UK Employment Law

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7/13/2013
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 71,442
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Verified
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Not done this before. Is this the right box to type in?
Yes, whats your question?
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

FOR JOMO1972


Are you there. I am so confused already.

Customer reply replied 5 years ago

My question is about fixed term contracts.


Mine will end on the 24th July. Five colleagues have had theirs extended but not me. 3 have been in employment for 8 months, 1 for 4 months and I have been in employment for 16 months. Another has been in employment for 18 months. I believe I have been unfairly selected for dismissal. My conduct has been good. No grounds for dismissal. I had a letter left in the pigeon hole at work. That was it. I have asked for the reasons why I have been selected and await answers.

Thanks n

This isn't really my area then but I'll pass this onto somebody who can help

I think he is offline right now but he should be on at some point tomorrow if thats ok?
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Yes, that's fine. It's late now. Please pass it on. Thanks

No problem

He will be along soon.
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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,941
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
Verified
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 exist to prevent the less favourable treatment of fixed-term employees. They ensure that fixed-term employees have more or less the same rights in the workplace as permanent employees.

When it comes to the expiry of a fixed-term contract, then that is regarded as a dismissal in law. Any employee whose fixed-term contract expires without renewal on the same terms as before will have the same rights to unfair dismissal protection and redundancy payments as a permanent employee, as long as they have the required service.

If a fixed-term contract is ended or not renewed, it must be for one of the potentially fair reasons set out in section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996:
• Capability
• Conduct
• Redundancy
• Illegality
• Some other substantial reason (SOSR)

Employers should establish which reason they seek to rely on in good time before expiry of the contract, and will need to follow a fair procedure. In many cases, the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract will be potentially fair by reason of redundancy, but in other cases there may be another valid reason, depending on the employer's reason for using a fixed-term contract in the first instance.

If the employer relies on redundancy they will have to check if suitable alternative employment can be offered to the employee instead of redundancy.

Employers should not assume that the fact that a fixed-term contract has a specific end date releases them from the obligation to give an employee notice of termination. How much notice is required will depend on the contract, or in the absence of anything in there it would usually be the minimum statutory notice of one week for every full year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks' notice.

If you believe that the above has not been followed then this could amount to an unfair dismissal and you can appeal the dismissal with the employer first before considering a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal.

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

For Ben Jones


Thank you for your answer. I already researched much of what you told me on line, and knew about the potentiallly fair reasons.


My contract was fixed term due to funding. Funding in my department fluctuates from year to year. My contract says I would receive a week's notice. I was told this from the outset.


What I want an answer to is this. When one employee must be dismissed but there are 6 employees on fixed term contracts, all due to end at the same time, should there be a selection process in order to decide which one of the employees should go? Is that when the potentially fair reasons criteria kicks in?


The only variable here is our length of service in the job. I'm second longest serving of the 6 employees.

A formal selection process is only required if the reason for the dismissal is that of redundancy. If other reasons are used then no selection process is required as long as the employer can show that the reason they used was applicable and fair in the circumstances

As your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do. I can then continue providing further advice and answer follow up questions if needed. Thank you.
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,941
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Ben Jones and 87 other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

I still need a bit more information. I have asked for a meeting about this.


My dismissal is given as 'reduced funding in the department', therefore I believe I am being made redundant as there are no other reasons given.


So, should there be a selection process for the six employees, of which I am one? Am I entitled to ask on what grounds I was selected?

This is not necessarily going to be a redundancy as it could also amount to 'some other substantial reason'

Previous case law has suggested that where it can be shown that a fixed-term contract was adopted for a specific and genuine purpose, that purpose was known to the employee and the purpose for which the contract was adopted has ceased to be applicable, a dismissal for 'some other substantial reason' is likely to apply.

In terms if 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.

So it depends on what exactly happened here and what reason the employer used to dismiss. You are entirely within your rights to ask them of the specific reason used and whether this was a redundancy or SOSR.
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,941
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Ben Jones and 87 other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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