Where an employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees within a 90-day period, this may be classified as a collective redundancy.
In a collective redundancy situation, there are additional obligations on the employer. For the purpose of collective redundancy, every dismissal is treated as a redundancy except those that the employer can show are for one or more reasons related specifically to the individual concerned.
Where an employer is proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees as redundant within a 90-day period, statutory requirements for consultation apply. The duty requires the employer to consult with appropriate representatives of the affected employees about ways of avoiding the dismissals, reducing the number of dismissals and mitigating the consequences of the dismissals.
If an employer fails to comply with these requirements, a claim for a protective award of up to 13 weeks’ pay per employee may be made to an employment tribunal.
The obligation to consult extends to all employees who may be affected by the proposed dismissals or may be affected by measures taken in connection with those dismissals. In some cases this can mean that the employer has to consult with representatives of the entire workforce, but in other cases careful thought is need to make sure that the consultation includes all of those employees affected both by the proposed dismissal and measures taken in connection with them.