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How to increase your severance payment to 63k

Employment lawyers in the City say they’re being deluged with redundant bankers who want to sue their former employers for unfair dismissal.

“Most people accept that there’s a need for redundancies,” says Philip Landau at solicitors Landau Zeffertt Weir. “Their biggest gripe is why they’ve been chosen instead of anyone else – they’re questioning the selection criteria.”

Jane Mann, head of employment law at Fox Williams Associates, says she’s getting around 10 new claims for unfair dismissal each week. “A lot of people want to challenge both their payouts and the reasoning behind their redundancy.”

Money is the motivator for bringing an unfair dismissal claim: if successful you will be eligible for compensation of up to 63k.

However, comparatively few claims are successful. To show you’ve been unfairly dismissed, lawyers say you’ll need to prove one of the following –

1) You weren’t really made redundant – ie. someone else occupied your job after you left

2) You were unfairly selected for redundancy – your employer selected you simply because you were old/expensive/wearing a red jumper. A correct process should rank potential candidates for redundancy against a matrix of the criteria used to determine who goes and who stays.

(Landau says you can only be made redundant for being too expensive if your employer first discusses whether you’d be prepared to accept a reduction in pay. If you refuse, your employer must still show that there’s no need for someone earning that salary in the position your’re working in.)

3) The redundancy process wasn’t followed properly – when they’re making redundancies, employers have to adhere to strict rules on things like consultation. These rules depend upon who how many people are made redundant at any one time.

If you want to bring an unfair dismissal claim, you’ll have to ensure that you haven’t already signed a compromise agreement, which will waive your right to challenge the conditions of your redundancy.

If successful, Landau says the size of your payoff will include compensation for loss of earnings. If you find another job just two months of being made redundant, you therefore won’t get much.

Comments (7)

  1. Complete rubbish! While many employees in banks are bullied, suffer discrimination etc, employers know they can get away with it. It is extremely hard to provide evidence of your claim because your collagues will not support you against your employer and most employees simply do not have the money to take their claim to court. So most employers get away with murder. In my case, a director with a substance abuse problem tried to attack me in the office in front of the rest of the team. Of course, no one saw anything and they tried to exit me for supposed performance issues even though they had literally just paid me a big bonus. However, I was smart enough to have been collecting very damaging evidence of the unprofessional behaviour I was subjected to over a period of time, so the bank decided to settle instead of damaging their reputation by having this evidence viewed in the public domain. Banks can afford very expensive lawyers and will try to undermine you in any way they can, you have to be very tough and independent if you intend to take them on. I did and I won, but don’t expect anyone to stand by you!

  2. If you need to engage an employment lawyer, try to get a recommendation from a friend etc. You need to be careful about contacting firms which advertise on city websites, since they tend to charge very high fees knowing bankers can pay them. But you don’t have any gurarantee of the quality of their work or how hard they will fight to win your case. It is extremely difficult to bring in a new solicitor once you have started your case, if you find out the one you appointed is not competent

  3. What this article overlooks is that when you get your package you need to get a solicitor to look over the bank’s standard compromise agreement and at that time as a matter of practice, the solicitor will advise you to consider any other claim you may have against your employer which would be affected by signing the compromise. I suspect solicitors do not always warn employees how hard it is to take an employer to court and most banks do not simply give away money at the slightest threat of litigation. Banks have their own tactics like waiting for the employee to run out of money, knowing they have deep pockets and they can afford to wait for you to become in debt, stressed out and finally give up on your claim before you reach the court date. People talk lightly of suing employers and getting an out of court settlement, but in reality you need a lot of evidence and money if you are going to succeed

  4. I think this article is an attempt by solicitors to drum up business as their profit margins are being squeezed in the downturn, I don’t think most employees are looking to sue

  5. instead of sue your employers, why not make a perfect plan, collect a real weapon and spend money and time to knock your boss down in advance

    white and black Reply
  6. The article also fails to mention that, depending on the type of claim, you can have as little as three months from your last day of work to bring a claim against the employer. Don’t delay. Employers know that it is becomes (even more) expensive and uncertain to claim once you are out of time and therefore tend to use delaying tactics.
    On the comment above, of course solicitors are in the business of providing advice and therefore promote their services through articles like these. However, you need to know what your rights are in order to decide whether it is worth asserting them in the circumstances. It will be equally valuable advice for you to hear – as any sensible solicitor will tell you – that you shouldn’t expect a Tribunal Claim to be a quick and easy way to get 63k. You may be due much less than you think. And you should know what you’re talking about before potentially burning bridges.

  7. I am in this situation now, not doing it in a lighthearted way. So what would be the tactics? For example, the lawyers are suggesting to put the figure I am looking for from the employer, which is 65K, to avoid a long and protracted dispute. They already are offering 45K, calculated in a standard way. Since the uplift is small, would it not communicate to employer a sign of weakness. There is a potential descrimination claim, so upside may be significantly higher but the risks are too high.

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