RECENT research by the ONS has shown certain employees facing redundancy are at risk of discrimination.
Looking at the data, Sue Dowling, head of Blandy & Blandy’s Employment Law team, said that employees in certain age groups and from particular backgrounds are likely to be disproportionately affected in terms of job losses resulting from the ongoing economic downturn.
She said: “The data highlighted that the number of workers in the UK fell by 730,000 between March and July 2020.
“It showed that workers aged 18 to 24 and those over 50 were more likely to lose their jobs amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, while Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workers were nearly 50% more likely to be affected than those in a nationally representative sample.”
Ms Dowling added: “Alongside job losses, workers have also experienced reductions in their working hours and incomes and the number of people employed on a zero hours contract has risen from 156,000 to 1.05 million in the past six months – a record level.
“Redundancy and reorganisation situations can be overwhelming and unsettling for anyone in the workplace, particularly for those whose roles have been placed at risk.”
Ms Dowling said that before any redundancies are implemented, employers must implement carefully considered selection or consultation procedures, to ensure that employees are treated fairly and lawfully.
And failure to adopt a fair process, or allowing the process to be tainted with unlawful discrimination, may result in an employee making claim for compensation for unlawful discriminationor unfair dismissal.
“According to the Equality Act 2010, age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and gender re-assignment represent protected characteristics,” Ms Dowling added. “Employees cannot be treated less favourably by their employers because of these characteristics.”
She said the Blandy & Blandy team can also help employers design and conduct fair restructuring and redundancy processes.
For more information or legal advice, visit: www.blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800