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Redundancy - is this legal?

(4 Posts)
upsetaboutwork Wed 06-Jul-11 12:57:55

(I've namechanged for this as this as potentially sensitive)

I have been given notice that I am potentially redundant.

For various reasons, I fully believe the real reason for my redundancy is that I'm a PT working mum - but I will never be able to prove this.

However, when the reasons for redundancy were explained, one reason given was 'During [period of my maternity leave] we did not have a full headcount yet still covered the work needed'. In other words, I went on maternity leave, they didn't replace me (except for a few outsourced projects to a freelancer) and decided they didn't need me any more. They also stated that they started to put the case together for redundancy during the last part of my maternity leave. I have been back at work several months so obviously don't have any protection of still being on mat leave.

Is this legal? I suspect it is, but am angryangryangry beyond belief and feel like I've been penalised for taking time off work.

Grevling Wed 06-Jul-11 12:59:42

Yes, deciding that after someone has gone on maternity leave they can "do without" is the same as someone going on extended sick leave and the employer coming to the same conclusions.

flowery Wed 06-Jul-11 13:40:24

If they don't need your post they don't need your post, and that's a legitimate business decision; it doesn't matter that they came to that conclusion as a result of managing without it for several months while you are on maternity leave.

Having said that, obviously although it's fine to realise as a result of your maternity leave that they need a lower headcount, it's not fine to select your post to make that headcount reduction because it was your absence that caused them to notice, if that makes sense?

In other words, if they need less (eg) secretaries, but there are several at the moment, they need to select one from a group rather than select you because you were the one they managed without.

Are you the only one who does what you do? Why is it you that is selected rather than anyone else?

upsetaboutwork Wed 06-Jul-11 13:55:44

There are 2 of us up for redundancy as we both do the same role, so yes, they are following the correct procedure and in theory either one of us could get the remaining post.

However, in practice it's clear to me that I am the person that will go. For example, they are scoring us on our performance in that role (this structure has been in place for 3 years). My colleague has all 3 of those years of experience, whereas I was on mat leave for 1 year, so have a year's worth less experience than her. One of the criteria is juding our performance on people management - my colleague manages 1 person, I don't manage anyone. I used to manage a team of three but all my line management responsibilities were removed from me when I opted to work part time.

I am sure that their procedures are correct and fairly watertight, but I think that the reality is that I am being penalised for taking maternity leave (twice!) and opting to work part time. And although I'm sure that they can use a business case to argue all of this, it does leave me feeling as though I've been rather stitched up, and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

(Sorry, feeling a bit raw right now!)

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