More than 1.3 million workers have lost their jobs during this recession and there are substantial public sector job cuts to come. Even if you do not face redundancy, it is likely that you know someone who will. It therefore pays to know your rights.
If you have more than one year’s employment, you may be able to claim unfair dismissal if the redundancy was not genuine or your employer did not follow the correct procedure. You have to move quickly though – you only have three months from the date your employment ends to start a claim.
In following the correct procedure, your employer has to consult with you individually in a series of meetings. This gives you a chance to come up with suggestions for avoiding your redundancy, consider any other jobs your employer may have available and go through the payments you will receive. You will usually have the right to appeal if you are made redundant. If more than 20 employees are affected, there are additional obligations.
Where a job is at risk and there are others doing the same job, you will all be put into a pool and scored against agreed criteria. Those with the lowest scores will be made redundant. The criteria must be objective and non-discriminatory and could include qualifications, experience, performance, disciplinary record and attendance.
If you are selected for redundancy, your employer must consider if there is any suitable alternative employment available. You also have the right to paid time off work to look for another job or arrange training.
For anyone who has been employed for more than two years, you will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. This is calculated using a formula based on your age, length of service and weekly pay, capped at £400 per week. If your employer refuses to pay, you have six months to bring a claim. If your employer is insolvent, you can claim the payment from the National Insurance Fund. If you are made redundant and your employer does not want you to work your notice period, you should be paid in lieu of notice. You should also be paid for any holiday you have accrued and not taken.
You may be offered an enhanced redundancy payment, in return for signing a compromise agreement giving up any employment claims. You will have to take legal advice on this agreement and a contribution towards your legal fees is usually paid by your employer.
If you have been told your job is at risk of redundancy, we can tell you what your rights are. If you have been offered a compromise agreement we can advise you on it. If you have been made redundant and think you may have a claim, you should contact us as soon as possible.
If you need redundancy legal advice call our legal team on 0800 298 9690 or fill in the Call Back Request form to the right of this screen.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Asbestos is the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK causing or greatly accelerating industrial diseases, with deaths from asbestos set to rise.
It is a stark fact that the number of asbestos-related diseases, and deaths from asbestos, continues to rise even today and will keep on rising for the next 5 to 10 years. What is even more disheartening is that knowledge of the hazards of asbestos has been in the public domain since mid 1960.
Asbestos was banned in UK construction in the mid 1980’s, but certain materials were still manufactured and used until 1999.
The reason why illness and deaths from asbestos exposure are still rising is due to what is called the latency period, which is the time from exposure to an illness becoming apparent. Someone exposed to asbestos dust can take 10, 20 or even over 40 years to show any effects.
Surprisingly, the largest increase in those affected are maintenance workers such as electricians, plumbers, heating and telephone engineers, rather than those who worked within the asbestos industry, although of course they are still affected.
Hattons have represented a number of people employed in the building trade who have been exposed and developed illness. They are often involved in the demolition or refurbishment of older buildings, drilling holes into the asbestos which causes dust and then at a later date illness.
There are no safe levels of asbestos and the affects of exposure to asbestos can be horrific. It is thought that one fibre can cause the most potent condition mesothelioma though there are lots of medical and legal guidelines as to how much exposure proven in a certain way is needed to establish a link with asbestos as a cause of a particular condition.
Therefore we at Hattons Solicitors are proactively working to raise awareness of asbestos related diseases and the steps that people need to take if they think they have been affected.
In fact, Hattons Senior Partner, Bruce Hatton, has for many years been actively involved in the fight to get justice for asbestos victims who, for example, are dying of mesothelioma or disabled through asbestosis.
“I have worked in the personal injury and industrial disease sector for over twenty years, and right from the beginning I have been passionate about getting justice for the victims of asbestos related diseases.
“Often I have had to work on tragic cases where a family have asked me to help them after their loved one has become very ill or even passed away and time and time again I’m shocked at the circumstances in which workers have become exposed asbestos and developed such a debilitating condition as a price they paid for doing a hard day’s work.”
“My advice to anyone who thinks that they have been exposed to asbestos in the past and is having health problems is to seek medical attention immediately. Make sure that you mention your exposure to asbestos and think about the period of exposure and the ways in which you could have come into contact with the dust. It can often take a long time for symptoms to show and so illness can only become apparent often up to 40 years after being exposed.”
Bruce has been a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel for over ten years, and has been a member of APIL and the American Association for Justice for many years. He has appeared personally before the Coroners Court, the Magistrates Court and the County Court, as well as taking clients’ cases to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and even abroad with Litigation in the USA.
If you feel that you want justice for the pain and suffering caused by being exposed to asbestos then you can call our local legal team for confidential advice on 0800 298 9690.
Hattons would like to see employers working to prevent deaths from asbestos, so if you would like more information on asbestos in the work place training then visit www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos