The recent P&O redundancies highlight why it is so critical to follow a fair process.
The unexpected loss of employment can have devastating effects on employees. This is why it is so critical the process followed ahead of dismissing an employee is managed with care and underpinned by fairness.
A failure to embrace this approach can have serious legal implications for employers and makes a difficult situation even worse for the affected employees.
The reports in relation to the dismissals which have taken place at P&O have surprised me and other employment lawyers in Jersey and the UK.
Jersey employment law defines redundancy as:
- a cessation of business by the employer;
- a cessation of business in the place where the employee worked;
- the need for employees to carry out work of a particular kind has ceased or diminished; or
- the need for employees to carry out work of a particular client in a particular place has ceased or diminished.
Once one of the 4 reasons above has been established, employers need to also follow a fair process which requires employers to:
- consult with employees;
- warn of employees of the risk of redundancy;
- establish fair criteria for selection of employees for redundancy; and
- explore alternatives to redundancy.
On the basis of the above it is difficult to see how P&O have adhered to the law and treated their staff fairly.
It appears the cost of doing business has been put before the needs of their employees and P&O believe they can navigate any reputational and legal risks.