As a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, I’ve found that I’ve received an increasing number of enquiries from clients about redundancy packages, whether offers of alternative employment are suitable for the client and the potential legal consequences of failing to take an offer of alternative employment. In this article we’ll therefore take a look at the above issues by examining the following:
- Should my employer offer me any suitable vacancies if I’ve been made redundant?
- How do I know if an offer of alternative employment is suitable for me?
- What are the potential legal and practical consequences if I fail to accept an offer of alternative employment?
Should my employer offer me any suitable vacancies if I’ve been made redundant?
Your employer must look for alternative employment for you during the consultation process and should offer you any alternative vacancies that are suitable for you in the circumstances. In determining the suitability of the alternative employment the employer should consider positions that are different to the one that you are currently working in and should also consider the availability of any vacancies with associated employers.
How do I know if an offer of alternative employment is suitable for me?
When offering you alternative employment at the organisation, your employer must show two things in order to demonstrate that the offer of alternative employment was suitable for you (and that you should therefore have reasonably accepted it):
- That the offer was suitable; and
- That your refusal was unreasonable
Although the two elements above are separate they very much inter-twine in an examination of whether a rejection of alternative employment is reasonable or not. If the offer of alternative employment was clearly unsuitable for the employee (say, for example, a CEO is offered an administrative post) then the refusal of that offer will in all probability not be unreasonable.
Whether the rejection of the offer of suitable alternative employment is reasonable depends on a mix of personal and professional factors – the employee is entitled to consider both objective factors (such as the level of pay, the status of the job, the number of hours the employee will have to work etc.) but is also allowed to introduce subjective considerations (such as the employee’s particular domestic situation, their health etc.). The most important thing is that the employee is able to demonstrate to their employee that they do have good objective and subjective reasons for rejecting an offer of alternative employment if the offer of alternative employment is suitable.
What are the potential legal and practical consequences if I fail to accept an offer of alternative employment?
If an employee unreasonably rejects the offer of suitable alternative employment then it can have the following potential impacts upon them:
- They may lose their entitlement to statutory redundancy pay
- It may damage their potential for success in an Employment Tribunal claim and/or the compensation that they’re awarded if they are successful
Chris Hadrill is a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, a firm of employment solicitors in Richmond London