Employment KBL

If your employer sells its business (or part of it) you may have gained protection from dismissal or detriment pursuant to the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

You may also have a right to be informed and consulted about what’s going on.

Has your employer contracted out your work or job?

If your employer contracts out your work, your employment may automatically transfer to the business that takes over that work. For example, say you work as a cleaner for a solicitor’s office. You are employed by the firm of solicitors based at the office. The Firm of solicitors decide to contract out the cleaning of its offices to an outside contractor.

It is likely on the transfer of the work your employment would automatically transfer to the outside contractor, on the same terms and conditions of employment. If the contractor tried to change your terms and conditions you may have a good claim in the Employment Tribunal.

So what happens if that outside contractor then loses the contract to another contracting company? Well, depending on whether you still clean the same offices, your employment may transfer again, this time to the new outside contracting company. In fact your employment could even transfer back to your original employer (i.e. the firm of solicitors) if it decided it had had enough with outside contractors and wanted to bring the work in-house again.

At each transfer you would have protection in relation to your employment terms and start date. You would also be entitled to be consulted (see below).

The Importance of Consultation

Many employers forget (or don’t know) that it has an obligation to consult all employees affected by the transfer of a business.

To continue with the example set out above. The firm of solicitors would be required to consult you. However, it may also have an obligation to consult its Office Manager who may be affected by the changes.

The outside contractor may also have obligations to consult its existing employee if they are affected. For example the outside contractor may decide that following the transfer (and you joining the company) it is overstaffed such that it intends to make one of its cleaners redundant.

The obligations on your employer to consult are quite technical and complicated. Many employers end up not consulting at all or failing to properly consult in accordance with the law.

A failure to properly consult could mean you become entitled to an award of 13 weeks pay. If you or your colleagues believe you may not have been informed and consulted by your employer (properly or at all) we would be happy to speak to you on a confidential basis. We may even be able to bring a group claim (acting for you and all the affected employees) on a no-win no fee basis.

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