Many of you will have heard in the news about Elon Musk, having bought Twitter, making many of the company’s workers redundant. Now 43 ex-employees of the company are looking to take Twitter to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
The company failed to consult with employee representatives for the minimum 45 days, having proposed to make at least 100 employees redundant. In addition, Twitter failed to provide adequate reasons for the dismissals and, practically, suspended them from their jobs, with no contractual right to do so.
If the allegations prove to be correct, Twitter was in breach of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. This legislation obliges employers to carry out collective consultation with employee representatives when making large scale redundancies.
Twitter is also potentially liable for unfair dismissal claims by each of the ex-employees, if they can show either the redundancy was a sham or individual consultation with employees was not carried out.
If the matter goes to an employment tribunal and the ex-employees succeed, they could each receive a protective award of 90 days’ pay, plus loss of earnings of up to a year’s pay, if they are unable to obtain new employment.
Twitter can, even if they did not go through a proper procedure, argue that it wouldn’t have made a difference and that the employees would have been made redundant regardless. Any loss of earnings claim would therefore be low value. It is quite likely many, if not all, of the ex-employees will be offered settlements not to continue with legal proceedings.
This story is an important reminder to employers about the potential cost, both financial and in reputation, that failing to follow a fair redundancy procedure can bring. If you would like advice on a redundancy situation, please contact me below.
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