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Help for small firms

Handling small-scale redundancies - A step-by-step guide

Handling small-scale redundancies - Step 6

Allow staff to appeal

There is no statutory obligation for you to have an appeal procedure for redundancy dismissals, as the Acas Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance Procedures does not apply. However, when you give formal notice of a redundancy dismissal, it's good practice to offer an appeal (although if you have a contractual dismissal policy you still need to follow that).

Building in an appeal system:

  • gives you early warning that an employee is unhappy with the process or the redundancy
  • allows you to deal with a complaint and resolve matters at an early stage, reducing the likelihood of an employment tribunal claim
  • would likely show a tribunal that you have followed a fair procedure.

Appeal process

  • Write to the employee offering to consider a written appeal if submitted within a reasonable timescale - five days is commonly used. Make it clear that any appeal should give the grounds for the appeal.
  • Arrange a meeting to discuss the complaint without unreasonable delay. You could write an invitation letter with a suitable time and place, and allow them to bring a work colleague or union representative.
  • If possible, arrange for a more senior staff member - or yourself - who has not been involved in the decision making to conduct the appeal meeting. If you are the owner and only manager try to be as impartial as possible, or you might even consider using a consultant to help by writing an independent report for you to consider when making your decision.

Appeal decision

Consider the matters raised as part of the appeal process, without unreasonable delay, and, make a decision on the outcome to either refuse or uphold the appeal.

  • If you decide to refuse the appeal, the redundancy dismissal, pay and notice you have issued continues as originally proposed.
  • If you decide to uphold the appeal and the employee has not yet ended their redundancy notice period, the employment contract will normally continue as though the employee had not been selected for redundancy in the first place.
  • If you decide to uphold the appeal and the employee has ended their redundancy notice period, you will need to seek to reinstate them and their continuous service will apply from when you first employed them. You may need to pay any arrears of wages between the end of the notice period and the time you reinstate them.
  • If you have made a redundancy payment to your employee and you subsequently uphold an appeal, you should make it clear that upholding the appeal requires the payment to be returned.

Whichever you decide, confirm your decision in writing as soon as possible.

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