Non-lawyers tend to think of these as separate categories. You often hear something like “I wasn’t dismissed – I was made redundant.” But from the point of view of employment law, if you are made redundant, you have been dismissed. Redundancy is just one of a range of possible reasons for dismissal.
The reason it’s worth mentioning this mistake – especially in current circumstances – is that it could lead you to think that if you’ve been made redundant, you can’t complain of unfair dismissal. That would be wrong. If your employer has acted unfairly in selecting you for redundancy, you are entitled to complain to an employment tribunal about it.
Where a case involves issues of unfair dismissal and redundancy payment confusion often develops around whether the claimant should be seeking a basic award or a redundancy payment. Since the awards are of equal value this is rarely a vital issue, but it is worth getting right if possible.
The following scenarios may assist, all assume that the claimant has not received any payment relating to dismissal.
- If the client has been made redundant and accepts the redundancy was fair, he should claim a redundancy payment.
- If the client has been dismissed, but does not accept the reason was redundancy, he should claim the basic award (but probably a redundancy payment in the alternative, in case the tribunal finds the dismissal was a fair redundancy.)
- If the client has been made redundant, but believes the dismissal was unfair, he can claim both the redundancy payment and the basic award. However, the rule against double recovery means he will only recover the value of a single award. ((Double recovery is the rule that you can only be compensated once for the same loss, even if you are entitled to bring a claim under a number different jurisdictions.))