I have been made redundant. What can I do?
There are a couple of aspects to being made redundant that you can look at. Primarily, take a look at your employment contract and what it says on redundancy. Does your situation reflect what your contract says? If it doesn't, then you may have cause for a personal grievance. Even if it does, the provisions in your employment contract may be contrary to New Zealand employment law.
It still amazes me what some employers put in their employment contracts. The saving grace is that you can not contract out of law or, in other words, a clause that goes against New Zealand employment law is not enforceable in an employment contract.
If your contract does not cover redundancies, then you are not entitled to a redundancy payment. At a minimum, your employer must give you the same amount of notice, or greater, than the termination notice period in your contract.
Is your redundancy genuine?
Some employers use the redundancy caper to get rid of staff they don't want, without legitimate grounds. These situations are generally not too hard to spot. Are you the only one going through the alleged redundancy process? Is the business really struggling? Have they made any major purchases lately? Has the owner been on a big holiday recently? Keep an eye on job advertisements to see if you can find your job listed in the situations vacant. There are various ways to determine if you have been replaced after your employment has finished. I leave that up to your imagination.
Has your employer followed due process?
The employer has an obligation to act in good faith. What we consider good faith is calling a formal meeting with you. This would be by way of written notice, giving you at least 24 hours and advising you that you can bring along a support person. The topic of redundancy needs to be stated in the written notice.
A discussion at the meeting would include input and feedback from you to the employer over the issues of redundancy. This can include the possibility of being utilised elsewhere in the company, along with any other suggestions anyone may have as to how the issue of redundancy could be mitigated or if there are alternative solutions to the problem that has caused the redundancy situation. The employer would then close the meeting and deliberate over what was said and then deliver his/her decision at a later date. If your redundancy process was not similar to what I have just described, then possibly the employer may not have acted in good faith and you may be able to make a personal grievance claim against them.
Where to from here?
Once we have had a look at your situation we can advise if you have a valid case or not. If you do, then the first step is to raise a personal grievance for an unjust termination. No two redundancy situations are the exactly the same. Please don't hesitate to contact us on 0800 746 225 or email us to discuss the particulars of your situation. Don't forget that our initial consultation with you is free.