What does redeployment mean in the workplace?
Employers restructure their business for a variety of reasons and this sometimes means that they need to make employees redundant. This article discusses what redeployment is and what you and your employer should be doing during the redeployment period. If the employer is not meeting their duties on redeployment, you may have been unfairly dismissed.
When an employer has made the decision that an employee’s job is no longer required to be performed, it is necessary for them to consider whether the employee can be redeployed into another role. To support an argument that is it reasonable to redeploy a ‘redundant’ employee it must be established that:
- there is a position(s) to be redeployed into; and
- the vacant position is suitable to the employee’s qualifications, skills and experience.
Is there a vacant position?
Your employer does not need to create a position for you to be redeployed into – the position should already exist. Sometimes an employer will provide a list of vacant positions but if they don’t, be sure to check the internal job notice board or simply ask what positions (if any) are available.
Simply handing you a list of vacant positions will not be enough to discharge the employers positive duty to redeploy you. Redeployment is the preferred alternative to termination and the employer must be able to demonstrate that they took active steps to place you in another job.
Are you suitable for the role?
Vacant positions may exist but it is important that you can demonstrate that you possess the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience in order to perform the role immediately. For example, if you are in marketing and the only vacant positions are in accounting, you may not have the suitable skills, qualifications and experience.
However, you can still be considered suitable if you can meet most of the key requirements of the vacant position and a period of retraining would fill in the gaps.
The retraining element can sometimes be overlooked by employers so to combat this, we recommend keeping an updated position description. Then you can compare your current position description against the requirements of the vacant position and assess whether you are suitable for the role or whether you require training to make you suitable for the role.
Are you prepared to take a pay cut?
Imagine a situation where an employee loves working for their employer (for whatever reason) but they are unfortunately made redundant. The employer incorrectly presumes that the employee wouldn’t want to take a pay cut and travel an extra 15 minutes a day in order to stay employed. Had the employer consulted with the employee, the employer would have discovered that the employee would have accepted the redeployment.
An employer must present all vacant positions for which the employee is suitable for, even if the vacancy has a lower income or status. It is then up to the employee to decide whether to accept.
Competing with the open market
Redeployment is the preferred alternative to dismissal so it may be unreasonable for an employer to advertise vacant positions externally rather than redeploying an employee that possessed the relevant qualifications, skills and experience.
If you are unsure about whether your employer has satisfied their obligations in redeploying you, please book a time to speak with us here. You only have 21 days from the date of dismissal to commence an unfair dismissal claim, so please act quickly. For more information on unfair dismissal check out our in depth article Unfair Dismissal: Expectation vs Reality