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Redundancy while off sick and pregnant??


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My wife is off sick because of complications with her pregnancy and has just been told by her boss that she’s going to be made redundant. There’s lots of questions we’ve got to see if he can do this so I’ll bullet them below, We have to write a letter as part of the consultation process and I hope someone can help us here so we can put the right info in it

 

 

I’ll just state the facts

  • They were aware she was pregnant, she’s been in hospital twice because of it and has been signed off sick for the past month
  • The claim is they need to save money due to a downturn in business and as she was last in she’s first out
  • She has been with the company 11 months
  • They are making another member of staff redundant, but the part time secretary who works for her is not losing her job. My wife (also part time) does roles that are more specific but also does secretarial duties if required.
  • Her specific tasks have been redistributed while she’s been off ill.
  • The boss said when we had a meeting that “during her last pregnancy she was off long term sick, and I see this one going the same way” He indicated that if she was off sick he wouldn’t be paying her wages as she would be on SSP and he would be saving money, possibly enough to not have to make her redundant
  • She never received a contract or T&C’s when she started last January, it was only created when we asked when she would be going onto SSP and produced in November.
  • Her boss is asking for a letter of representation with suggestions why she should not be made redundant or other ways he could save the money.

Can he make her redundant while she’s pregnant and off sick?

 

Sorry this post is so long, I’m just trying to find out what rights we have if we have a case and if it’s worth it as she’s only part time and been there less than 1 year – it will be 1 year in early January.

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Your wife's employer seems to be sailing close to a claim of Sex Discrimination. He has to be very careful when making any comment relating to maternity leave or sickness as a result of pregnancy as could be seen as clearly discriminatory under the terms of the Sex Discrimination Act and the Employment Rights Act.

 

She also cannot be made redundant on the grounds of last in - first out. Any decision must solely be based on objective criteria, with the correct period of consultation. If any statement has been made to the contrary then any dismissal (on the grounds of redundancy) could be automatically unfair.

 

When are the redundancies due to become effective? How many employees are there, and how many are to be made redundant?

 

Her contract need not have been written, but she should have received a statement of terms and conditions within 8 weeks of starting.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Thanks Sidewinder

 

We had a meeting 2 weeks ago and he wants it all sorted before Christmas. There are 10 staff in the firm (including the partners) and he's making two people redundant.

 

My main concern is that Citizens Advice told us we don't have a leg to stand on because she's been there less than a year and he would just say that it was nothing to do with her pregnancy (BTW He's a solicitor!!)

 

In the meeting he did acknowledge that he hadn't provided any T&C's and he actually said that we could take him to tribunal - I don't know if it would be worth it, as my wife is only part time and I'm not sure if we could afford it.

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Tribunal is free - ordinary people can do it without a solicitor - go for it.

 

He can do last in first out IF he can objectively justify this - which with the Age Discrimination legislation he may not be able to.

 

He can select your wife for redundancy during her pregnancy/maternity leave IF he can show that the pregnancy has no bearing on this.

 

Your paragraph "The boss said when we had a meeting that “during her last pregnancy she was off long term sick, and I see this one going the same way” He indicated that if she was off sick he wouldn’t be paying her wages as she would be on SSP and he would be saving money, possibly enough to not have to make her redundant" shouts out Disability Discrimination and Sex Discrimination to me.

 

Potentially the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 also assist you.

 

If he has already made up his mind, the best you can do is to negotiate the best settlement possible.

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