Redundancy problems

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by maomao, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    A month ago my wife was told that her department (of five people, in a multinational company with a couple of hundred UK employees) was being closed down and all five of them were being considered for redundancy. They were given a list of four internal vacancies and told to apply for as many as they wanted. 2 of the 5 were managers/supervisors and are not interested in the vacancies offered and are intending to leave the company.

    One of the four vacancies is a position under their current manager that they would all prefer. My wife confirmed in this interview that if succesful she would be allowed to keep her current flexible working with three days a week at home. The other three vacancies are with an unpopular manager who answered her question about flexible working by saying that he currently had a member of staff who worked from home one day a week but wouldn't expand on whether she would be allowed to do even this. Following the interviews my wife emailed HR to express a strong preference for the first job (without listing flexible working as one of her reasons). Of the other two colleagues one has applied for all four jobs and doesn't work from home and the third has two days working from home and decided to apply only for the job in the same department.

    The interviews were nearly three weeks ago and they were told they would have feedback meetings and further meetings regarding redundancy the following week but they heard nothing until Friday when they were told that they would have to have a test on Microsoft Excel to see who was most qualified. This didn't happen and they were lead to believe it had been dropped but last night the three of them got another email saying they would all have to have it after all, either this Friday or next Monday. Today her two colleagues are both in the office but she's at home. They arer all very upset and stressed as they feel like they've been left dangling. They want to go and complain to HR and want my wife to complain too. the colleague who has flexible working and only applied for one job is particularly upset because that job doesn't really involve Excel. She feels very strongly that she should support her colleaugues who are in the same position as her.

    My advice to her at the moment is to do or say as little as possible to leave her with as much choice as possible. As it is their dithering has ensured her six weeks redundancy notice will keep her paid to the end of the year. They feel very strongly that they've been treated badly and while this is true I can't see that they've actually done anything legally wrong.

    Is there any case that their refusal to give interview feedback and taking such a long time to consider anything is causing them undue stress? Is their any case that my wife might be discriminated against because of her current need for flexible working? She's been working 2-3 days at home for them for several years now but I don't think this obliges another department to offer her the same benefit? Is there any advantage in complaining to HR at all? What else could we be looking for in the way her company are dealing with this that we could use against them or is it just shitty luck?

    About a week into the process she was starting to be quite positive about the prospect of redundancy and finding something local but now she's just depressed. Not a good time of year to start job hunting either. Any advice or just moral support appreciated.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    the workplace sounds shit. with the stress, the way everyone's been treated seems capricious and unfair so wouldn't be surprised if symptoms had developed - feeling tense, sleeping poorly etc. the newly introduced test seems unfair as it seems it wasn't originally part of the recruitment process and from what you say irrelevant to the job. in the first instance i'd contact the union but if that's not an option then look at the acas website and consider an employment lawyer, esp if union membership offers this. refusal to give feedback certainly shitty and dubious - applicants have the right to see notes made on them (Do job applicants have the right to see notes made on them at interview? | FAQs | Tools | but not a legal right to feedback (Post interview feedback: Five things you need to know - The People HR Blog People HR Blog)

    it's a crappy position to be in at this time of year in particular and i hope something can be retrieved from what sounds like a deeply unpleasant situation.
    muscovyduck and Badgers like this.
  3. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    No union but asking to see interview notes sounds like something they could all do at the same time to apply a little pressure. Thanks that's genuinely helpful.
    muscovyduck and Pickman's model like this.
  4. Virtual Blue

    Virtual Blue ready

    They are buying time to get organised. Its worth finding out if all internal applicants were asked the same questions during interview.
    If not, how on earth were their skills and experience fairly measured?
    As already pointed out, applicants can ask for interview notes (this may explain why the organisation are opting for a technical test - its the soundest way to reject candidates).

    As for flexible working, does your company have a policy?
    I championed flexible working in my workplace (alongside the CIPD) and FYI, when interviewees request this, not all managers see it in a favourable way.
    And if their HR Team are good, its near impossible to prove that the person asking for flexible working was discriminated against.
    maomao and Pickman's model like this.
  5. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    There should be no delay on seeing the interview notes, or notes for any other meeting connected to the redundancy. They shouldn't have to fight for everything.

    It might be helpful if your wife starts writing a timeline of events. This includes every event, email, communication from HR or anyone else, related to the redundancy process. Also copies of emails etc.

    Has she had notice formally issued yet? This would usually be a letter. Or is she 'at risk'?
  6. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    She can also ask for any scoring and scoring criteria that has been carried out to identify those at risk.
    maomao and Pickman's model like this.
  7. hash tag

    hash tag member

    I don't know about complaining but certainly a little nudge to find out what is happening would not be unreasonable.
    It's a shitty thing to happen, regardless of what time of year it is.
    FWIW where I work, I have been asked if I want to stay or do I want redundancy. I refused to answer as I do not know how the "revised" job will pan out with regards to duties, shifts Etc.
    We are 4 departments merging into one. Of the 4 departments, mine is the most "specialist" and awkward to fit into; many of the others can't or won't do my job.
    In my small department, we have two contractors, who have been told bollocks by our manager which I wouldn't trust. However, one of them is going for a new fixed term contrcat while
    the other is holding out for a permanent post. The permanent post might turn out to a 9-5, no shifts less pay.
    Which would I go for? The devil I knwo or the devil I don't. Sadly she is a bloody good worker and colleague and the best thing to happen to the department in years.

    Anyway, I suggests wifey asks! and good luck.
    muscovyduck and Pickman's model like this.
  8. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    No formal notice yet. And her workload has dropped considerably so I'm trying to get her to see the bright side of money still coming in for less work.
  9. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    Everything so far suggests they're not. She's worked there over six years and they still can't get their head round the fact that she uses her married name at work but has her maiden name on her passport (which is not a UK passport and couldn't be changed easily).
  10. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Sounds like she likes her current manager. Is it worth having a word with them?

    The modern world that gives us HR as opposed to the friendlier more caring personnel? :(:mad:
    muscovyduck, Mapped and equationgirl like this.
  11. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    My last employer kept me waiting for nearly six months before I finally got my notice letter. To say it affected my mental health was an understatement.
    muscovyduck and Pickman's model like this.
  12. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    To be honest maomao they should be proactively sharing the whole process with them before it happens. Most questions people have arise from a lack of clarity over the process.
  13. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    If I was in your position maomao I would be actively encouraging your wife to seek out alternative employment. Get looking and if possible start interviewing. If something good comes up she can withdraw her application with the current employer and accept the redundancy and likewise if she gets offered a position which suits her in the current role she can stop interviewing for new jobs and decline any offers.

    Also there is still a more than likely chance she will end up with no offer from the existing employer or at least an unacceptable one. I always think as soon as companies start fucking around like this its time to start looking as the writing is on the wall, if its not this time it might be at the next round. Don't let them be in control of the whole situation.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  14. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    This is definitely good advice but she'll be looking at a complete change of occupation, maybe self employment as the chances of a new job with her current wfh conditions and hours are practically zero. Her current wage after childcare and travel costs is practically nothing. But she has been using company time to polish her cv and think about her options.

    My honest opinion is that another two to three weeks dithering followed by redundancy would be the perfect result and allow her a proper winter break and enough money to cover us till spring while we work out a better approach to work and chidcare (I work shifts so can do half of all childcare but nurseries won't take kids on a four on four off basis so we have to pay almost full time). But the stress and fucking about is really getting to her.
    muscovyduck and Teaboy like this.
  15. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    It's the uncertainty that really fucks with you, in my experience. It might be reassuring for her to know that what's she's feeling is completely typical and not unusual at all.
    maomao likes this.
  16. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    I told her about your six months. She was suitably shocked. We've talked today about if she's offered an office only position she's going to string out her decision for as long as possible to scrape an extra week or two's wages out of them.
    equationgirl likes this.
  17. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    My former employer is an exception,to be fair.
  18. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Waving redundancy around and making people jump through hoops without any formal declaration of the process is definitely aggressive and anxiety-causing - just not sure if there's anything to do about it. Bear in mind that any settlement that's above and beyond statutory redundancy may come with clauses requiring you to promise not to sue the company once accepted.

    I was made redundant not all that long ago and tbh, while objectively you can say "oh this is a great opportunity to change my life around and find something I really want to do", it doesn't end up like that in practice, or at least it didn't for me. Even in the best cases it's draining and miserable and makes you think "what's the point?" If there was ever a time to be emotionally supportive but also a little pushy, I'd say it was now.
  19. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    So she was due a consolidation meeting today and HR sent her an email yesterday that she would have to take a test in xml as well as excel today. It's in the job description of one of the roles she'd applied for so I guess they can but they encouraged her to apply for it with promises of on the job training. She went in angry, ended up crying, and they're letting her do the test on Friday instead of today. She's enormously stressed out by the idea of doing a test in something she doesn't know anything about and I can completely understand that.

    She's talking about putting in grievances against HR but I can't see what they've done illegal or even against their own rules. Obviously they're heartless tossers but that's what you'd expect.
  20. hash tag

    hash tag member

    If not illegal it certainly sounds immoral. They are certainly stringing out the process and the more they do that the more stressful it becomes.
    It's not right and its not clever.

    Redundancy worked for me and was probably exceptional. I was offered redundancy one day, took the redundancy the next without a clue what to do next.
    Because of my volunteering background I was directed towards an agency specializing in care. They got me a temp job in sheltered housing when I didnt know what
    sheltered housing was and I have taken it from there. If only I had started down that path sooner. :thumbs:
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  21. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Hmmm. Pushing her to go through the application procedure for a job she does not appear to have the skills for seems an awfully odd (and indeed cruel) thing to do. Those skills are either a pre-requisite for the job or they are not.

    I remember a few years back applying for a job with a quite well known company in the construction industry. Having got through the initial interview I had to attend a selection day. At this day there were lots of people all applying for different jobs including quite a few old boys who were clearly applying for fairly basic and low paid roles. We were all given a series of tests and it was the same test regardless of the role you were applying for. Watching these old boys in frayed and ill fitting suits being expected to complete quite tricky maths and IT tests when the role was probably no more than driving a fork lift was pretty heart breaking not to mention disgusting and demeaning to them.

    It was after that that I promised myself I would never join a company where HR control the recruitment process.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  22. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    She's really taking this very hard and is very upset this evening. Her boss told her in the meeting it was okay if she needed some time off. Any opinions on getting herself signed off work with work related stress? A couple of weeks at least. Their sick pay is quite generous. I suppose they can still go ahead with the redundancy but it should buy her a couple of weeks right?

    To tell the truth I'm suggesting this to her because I think it's justified than because I think it's some sort of killer tactic. She's really not taking it well.
  23. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat Santa is an evilous man

    always wary on this.

    ultimately, no job is worth damaging your health for, but number of sick days in the last year is a question many employers will ask either at interview or in references.

    does she want to stay there or get out?

    going sick is unlikely to help with staying there

    can she volunteer for redundancy? (this may affect things like mortgage insurance)

    or just do the test or whatever bollocks it is and not care?
    maomao likes this.
  24. Ms T

    Ms T Honey-coloured ramparts

    Are other people applying for the vacancies as well? I don’t really understand why they can’t redeploy the three people at risk if they’ve got four jobs available.
  25. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    Three of the jobs are in a newly created department under a different manager and are different roles to the ones they're currently doing. They've never worked with xml before for instance. This manager is new and based in Dubai. The UK manager is trying to offload his redundancies onto the new department offering to train the staff upfor the new roles but the guy in Dubai isn't keen and asking for new hoops to be jumped through. At least two of the staff (my wife and her best friend at work) don't really want to work for the new department and probably can't without flexible hours.

    She doesn't really fancy the idea of getting herself signed off but may do when she's reached the point that she is actually ill. She's planning to just fail the xml test on Friday. There doesn't seem to be any advantage to her in doing well in it.
  26. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    I've been signed off sick during a redundancy process,and knew people that had also been signed off during the process (one colleague was signed off for several weeks).

    I got signed off because I was at the end of my tether - I was struggling with acute anxiety and was intimidated by HR during my redundancy. However, i had also secured another job and basically gave nil fucks if my departure left my line manager in the lurch.

    It depends on how her company usually treats illness during redundancy. Some treat it like it stops the clock, others keep the process running.
  27. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    Well she will be redundant as of Friday. Only one person was offered a job.

    She's steaming because she had been covering work for the other department for ages so thinks she has been treated unfairly by them insisting on an xml test (she didn't even get to the xml bit in the time allowed for two tests) and not offering on the job training. As far as I can see there's nothing worth appealing about. They're legally entitled to look for people with a different set of qualifications and the work she was covering may not add up to the whole role they're looking to fill. Not that they're not cunts I just don't see anything they've done wrong except be cunts.

    Anyway we're trying to see it as a positive. With the six weeks extra fucking about, the redundancy money and two little last minute PPI claims that came through we're good till Easter. No point looking for a job three weeks before Christmas so hopefully she can put her feet up (as much as a parent of a one and a four year old can) for a few weeks.
  28. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I'm at a loss as to what an "XML test" would be alongside anything to do with Excel tbh, apart from it being a meaningless part of a pre-biased redundancy process of course.
  29. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    Well, quite. That's literally all it is. And it's a pretty shitty way of trying to prove that they offered her a job but she wasn't good enough. But anyway, onwards and upwards.
  30. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    Literally deal with different interoperable web data formats as a day job and I would have to look up details. "XML? well uh what do you want to know? bit antiquated for web apps now, everyone uses JSON, there are various standards for different processes and definitions of those... you want me to tell the exact details of what those are, instead of just googling like a real person? yeaaaahhh not quite sure this job is for me".

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