Your rights if you’re fired or made redundant

Posted on 19 October 2009. Filed under: Tips & Suggestions |

It happens.  You wake up one morning to find out your company’s being acquired.  Your first thought:  will I be able to keep my job.

You do have some legal rights.  There’s differences between being fired (also called ‘dismissal’) and your position being made redundant.  In most mergers or acquisitions, what’s happening is that many (sometimes up to one-third of all) jobs will disappear when the two companies combine.  The company no longer needs everyone.  Two payroll departments become one,  two salesforces become one … and the same throughout the organisation where there is any overlap between the two formerly-separate companies.

The book Surviving M&A contains an entire chapter on this topic, covering issues such as your rights to protection against unfair selection, the requirement to consult with you (or your representatives, if you are a member of a union) and to provide you with some sort of redundancy pay, which is often specified at a minimum level in law.  The book also covers the role of the Human Resources department in this process and how managers usually determine who to keep and who to fire.

There’s also a nice on-line article that has appeared on-line recently with some of the telephone numbers to call and some of the legal jargon explained:  ‘Redundancy Rights:  Your rights when being made redundant‘.  This is a UK-specific site, so may be of limited use to those outside the United Kingdom.  There’s another one on UK redundancy rules at PrudentMinds.  For those in the US, Fortune and CNN Money have covered this well in ‘Life after Redundancy‘.


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