Advice needed urgently

(20 Posts)
TapDancingPimp Fri 24-Jun-16 09:53:45

If someone can offer advice it'd be massively appreciated.

I work in a small business (have posted previously about my lack of promised pay rise but that's a separate issue).

There are two branches - my pregnant colleague contacted me yesterday to advise the boss had advised they were closing her branch and effectively she's now out of a job, despite being a longer serving employee than two other members of staff from the remaining office (where I'm based). She asked could she work in the remaining office instead but has been told no, there isn't enough work.

So the boss is pretty much making her redundant a few weeks before she's due to start her maternity leave and has made it clear she won't be paying any of her maternity pay.

To me this just sounds completely wrong for a number of reasons, please tell me she has rights? We're in N.I. so not sure if that'll make any difference.

To me it sounds like the boss is taking advantage of the situation and sacking the 'weaker' member of staff, knowing she was due to go on leave anyway.

I feel physically sick for her.

Imnotaslimjim Fri 24-Jun-16 10:04:09

I'm almost certain that she will have right to reply, but I'm not very knowledgeable in it. Hopefully this will help bump you above all the EU crap and have someone with more info see it

PatronIcingBardStarred Fri 24-Jun-16 10:06:01

Would be worth giving ACAS a call. I'm in NI too and have also used them, I found them very good.

I also went to a solicitor specialising in employment law, it was worth it.

tribunalupfrontfeesjustunfair Sat 25-Jun-16 12:48:45

Hello, how awful for your friend. I support the suggestion above to contact ACAS who will give you free advice on employment issues, to both employees and employers.

N.I is covered by the same employment legislation as the rest of the UK, although, NI has not changed it's Employment Tribunal's to upfront fees.

The beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave is a ‘protected period’ during which a woman is entitled to special consideration if this is necessary to make good any disadvantage she may otherwise experience.

Selecting a woman for redundancy because of her pregnancy, maternity leave or a related reason is automatically unfair dismissal as well as being unlawful discrimination.

I have posted the link directly to advice on your friends situation HTH.

www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/r/f/Managing-redundancy-for-pregnant-employees-or-those-on-maternity-leave-accessible-version.pdf

TapDancingPimp Sun 26-Jun-16 08:58:01

Thank you all so much smile

Alibobbob Sun 26-Jun-16 09:15:00

They are closing a beach with other employees and everyone is to be made redundant with immediate effect is that right? If so I think it's correct. The decision has been made it's not just one employee who is being made redundant and who is pregnant.

They are not transferring her to the other office because they are fully staffed so there is no work available there for her.

She should ring ACAS and get some expert advice but I don't think they have done anything wrong.

spiggidydodah Sun 26-Jun-16 09:29:05

The labour relations agency is NI's version of Acas so would be her best bet for advice. www.lra.org.uk/advisory-services/helpline

flowery Sun 26-Jun-16 10:03:27

"To me it sounds like the boss is taking advantage of the situation and sacking the 'weaker' member of staff, knowing she was due to go on leave anyway."

Does that mean other staff members based at the same branch as her are being kept and transferred elsewhere but she is not?

Once she's reached the criteria to be entitled to SMP her employer has to pay it, even if her employment ends.

TapDancingPimp Sun 26-Jun-16 10:54:50

The only other member of staff, who is an 'advisor' has chosen to go self-employed but will trade under the company name.

Pregnant colleague was in a support role, however she is a longer serving member than two other support-role colleagues in the remaining branch. So to me it seems she's being discriminated, boss had effectively decided to sack the pregnant person as it's most convenient to her circumstances!

TapDancingPimp Sun 26-Jun-16 10:55:35

Her being the boss.

flowery Sun 26-Jun-16 11:08:15

But if her branch is shutting but the branch the remaining members of staff work at isnt, do you think one of them should be bumped out of their role to make room for your friend?

flowery Wed 29-Jun-16 09:39:52

OP? Can you confirm whether you feel one of your colleagues in the other branch should be dismissed in order that your pregnant colleague can have his or her job?

As I said, as long as she has already met the qualifying requirements for SMP, your employer will need to pay her that regardless of the fact that her employment has been terminated.

Footle Wed 29-Jun-16 13:25:06

"EU crap" eh ? Where do you think employees' rights are likely to be in a year's time ?

TapDancingPimp Wed 29-Jun-16 18:16:26

Hi Flowery, I don't really understand the relevance of the question, I just feel that as she's been employed longer than other colleagues (who perform exactly the same tasks at her, albeit at a different location) she's getting the shit end of the stick here - I'd be interested to know if the situation would be the same if she weren't pregnant and about to go on leave - interestingly when the manager made the announcement about it the other day she said 'and Sally* is going on maternity leave anyway so it all works out'...like it was just so convenient for all concerned! That's not how things work, surely? What if Sally* hadn't been due to go on leave? Would she be entitled to stay?

I really don't know how things work I just feel upset for a lovely colleague and know that if I personally was due to start maternity leave and had been told I was losing my job, I'd feel like shit sad

TapDancingPimp Wed 29-Jun-16 18:18:45

Anyway I've spoken to Sally* and she says she 'doesn't want to go down that route' i.e. legal guidance.

*name changed for obvious reasons smile

flowery Wed 29-Jun-16 18:30:41

Length of service has nothing to do with it.

The relevance of my question is that if you think she ought to be given a support role job at the other branch, then unless there is a current vacancy for a support role there, giving her a job there would presumably require one of the people currently filling the two support roles at the other branch to vacate their post to make room for her? For your colleague to stay, there needs to be a job for her to stay in, which unless one of the other two loses their job, there isn't.

I understand you feel for your colleague and it's not pleasant, but if you follow your train of thought to its conclusion, the result is that someone else would need to lose their job in order to enable your colleague to stay.

Similarly, her pregnancy is nothing to do with it. If she was not pregnant and about to go on maternity leave and the branch closed down, she would still be redundant in the same way. She would not be 'entitled to stay' as (unless there was a vacant post elsewhere) there would not be a job for her to stay in.

It's entirely likely your employer doesn't realise they will have to pay SMP for the full 39 weeks even to an employee who is no longer employed, so make sure your friend is on top of that.

TapDancingPimp Wed 29-Jun-16 19:00:13

I see. The whole thing just seems terribly unfair, and while I wouldn't wish redundancy on the other two colleagues (I'm actually one of the 'other two' smile) it just seems like the wrong person has been chosen here, I mean she's not exactly in a position to go job hunting.

It's obv just one of those things sad

DetestableHerytike Wed 29-Jun-16 19:03:46

Flowery, if three people are doing the same role on two different sites, shouldn't they all be in a "pool" being considered, assuming commuting between sites is viable?

flowery Wed 29-Jun-16 19:41:50

"it just seems like the wrong person has been chosen here"

But in a situation of a branch literally closing down, it's not a case of choosing.

"if three people are doing the same role on two different sites, shouldn't they all be in a "pool" being considered, assuming commuting between sites is viable?"

Well not usually, no. Imagine even if it was all on the same site. A business would generally have admin support roles in a number of different departments, perhaps manufacturing different products, say. If a decision was taken to completely shut down one department and not make that product any more, all the roles within that department would be redundant. It wouldn't be necessary to include all the administrators in all the other departments in a pool.

In a situation with a branch closing down, it would be unusual to include roles based in completely unaffected branches in a redundancy pool. I suppose theoretically you could have a situation where the physical location of the support roles bears no relation or relevance to the work they are doing, and all three support roles do exactly the same work supporting both branches - i.e. the OPs friend spends a lot of her time providing support to the other branch and vice versa- then the closing of the one branch would affect all of their workloads equally, meaning there would be a potential argument for including them all in a pool, yes.

But generally support roles at one of two branches of a business would spend all of most of their time providing support for that branch, so that branch closing makes their role redundant. Dismissing someone in another role would be 'bumping', which isn't usually fair.

DetestableHerytike Wed 29-Jun-16 21:47:59

Thanks!

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