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A few redundancy situation questions if anyone has time...

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I am in an extreme predicament in work at the moment and I am having trouble getting any sensible answers out of anyone in the company so I am trying here. I have a feeling I'm going to be typing for a while, the questions themselves are at the bottom.


I have just had my redundancy announced. In respect of the assessment, selection and other processes, I have no issues. I appreciate that the workload for my role has reduced and I know that they need to reduce the headcount for our team from 3 to 2 as a result. They have chosen to protect someone who does the job for in-house teams but chose me or my colleague who work with outsourced relationships redundant. Maybe they shouldn't have but I don't want to move 250 miles so I don't care about that aspect.


I have no issue being chosen. My colleague is excellent at the role and while our skill levels are comparable overall, management have issues regarding my interpersonal skills (I have suffered from depression and anxiety for around 18 years now - they are well aware) but appreciate my technical knowledge is second to none. I see it as an opportunity because certain aspects of the job such as the stupid amount of traveling, long days and nights away involved all make my illness worse.


Anyway, for some reason they didn't want to make it a normal redundancy (which I actually wanted). Rather than give me notice, they wanted to extend my "at risk" period for 4 months, then serve my notice so I would finish on 31.12.09. I had to agree because refusing it would mean turning down paid work and would affect any income protection claim. Officially, I have been told there is no chance of being found alternative work. At the same time, the company has the right to redeploy me to "suitable alternative work".


I do not want to be there, however, I am in an economic trap. Not working those months takes up too much money. I am currently (and my boss knows this) making plans for January and they do not involve staying in the organisation. I am spending money on the re-training I need to do to change careers based on the lack of options available (my boss knows this). My being trapped by the extension of the "at risk" is having an effect on my illness and I have had to start taking a medication I hadn't needed for close to 3 years again. Then I had to increase the dosage. My boss knows this. I need to put it up again because I am not sleeping and constantly obsessing over the situation and I starting to suspect it may be breaching the line between hyper-vigilance and paranoia. Not because I fear leaving but because I feel/know/suspect/believe/fear they are plotting something behind my back (in the same way that my boos's boss knew about this for months in advance and did not say anything to me).


Their plan? Keep me there. Keep my coleague in the promoted role until year end. Oficially move my colleague into the promoted role at year start. Move me into the joined role that makes me spend even more time away. They know that in the interim I will have made plans. I then cannot take the new role both because of personal circumstances and the effect the additional traveling would have on my ilness. I have to hand in my notice. They save my redundancy vecause I lost entitlement to it (which will cover almost a year's salary for some of the lower grade staff). Either that, or they say I am not capable of doing the new role and dismiss me through incapability. They save the same amount.


I have asked to be included on communications that may affect my situation. My request has been turned down. They have recently sent me

on work outside the UK (my contract is specifically UK only). They are expecting me to continue to work the 45-50 hours a week my job needs (my contract is 35) and are getting me to travel way more than I used to because my colleague (who is staying in the role) is currently on a secondment and will remain there for all the time they have me there (my contract is occasional days out of the office although the whole weeks away tend to come in patches rather than being constant). Effectively, I am now doing 2 people's jobs as she does none of our day to day work.


So anyway, there's the background. Here are the questions if you are still awake.


1. Do I have any rights to see information that they are discussing that could affect me or do I have to rely on my boss keeping me up to date?

2. Is there any actual useful definition of "suitable alternative employment"?

3. How long have they got to force me into something else? Can they do it right up to the last day?

4. How much can they change my job and force me to take it?

5. How ill does someone have to become before work have to recognise it and take it into account? Mine is severe and I told them before I joined that I was ill.

6. How easy is it for them to do the incapacity thing? Is that a quick process?

7. What happens if I get worse during the interim period? I increased my medication to keep on working despite how they are acting over this and I'll take that route as far as I can before I take time off but what if I end up not being able to cope? If I'm off ill, do I lose my redundancy entitlement?

8. Given that I am making enquirires with them, if they decide it's not worth the hassle and want me out instead, can they issue my notice instantly? (there is a written agreement regarding the end of year thing)



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Suggest you speak to ACAS, see website. They will advise you on the phone, very responsive and quick. They are the employment specialists.

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