5 Questions to Ask a Redundancy Lawyer

Redundancies can occur for a variety of reasons; such as the introduction of new technology, the business closes down, slow down due to lower sales or production, and/or restructures of the organisation because of a takeover or merger.

The psychological impacts of redundancy can include depression, anxiety, embarrassment, and irritability. When facing a redundancy, you need to remember that it’s absolutely okay to feel those things as redundancies can throw your life into turmoil. When your life has turned into a rollercoaster, it is sometimes hard to think rationally and this is why it advisable to see a redundancy lawyer to assist you in this process.

Many people facing retrenchment are unsure what their rights are under their employment contract or the Fair Work Act (2009). Under the Fair Work Act (2009), employers can only make you redundant if it is considered a genuine redundancy. A redundancy is only considered a “genuine” redundancy if the following apply:

  • A person’s job does not need to be done by anyone due to changes in the operational requirements; and
  • The employer followed any consultation requirements in the award, enterprise or other registered agreement.

Table of Contents

1. Why do I need a redundancy lawyer?

It is always advisable to see a redundancy lawyer at any stage of the redundancy process as they can guide you through this tumultuous period. The most common reasons that an employee would seek a redundancy lawyers is the belief that they are being “managed out” or “selected for reasons other than what their company is claiming”. You can also seek legal advice if you accept your “redundancy is genuine but would like to get legal assistance to negotiate an exit package”.

2. What is your experience?

When seeking legal advice about any issues you want to seek legal advice from a professional who has expertise in this area. In this instance, you would need to seek the services of a specialised industrial relations lawyer. This is a lawyer with considerable experience managing employment issues and will assist you in managing your dispute.

3. What can I expect as an outcome?

Your legal representative will advise you of your rights under your relevant award, enterprise or other registered agreement. If you believe the redundancy was “discriminatory” or for a reason that was “unjust, harsh or unreasonable” you may want to pursue an action for unfair dismissal. However, if you are engaging a lawyer to negotiate your exit package you may be able to get a better redundancy payout with them advocating on your behalf.

4. Will I have to go to Court?

Most cases relating to employment agreements are heard in Fair Work Commission, which is the workplace relations tribunal. Although the Commission has the power to make orders and hearings it is specifically set up to be an open, fair, transparent and quick process aiming to create harmonious and cooperative workplace relations. Most disputes around workplace relations are heard in this forum unless your workplace strikes an application for it to be heard in a different jurisdiction. In this instance, you would have to go to Court.

5. What are your costs?

You need to make sure you understand the cost associated with hiring the lawyer you have instructed. There are two common methods of payment that allow you to estimate the cost of legal fees and whether it is worth proceeding.

Billable hours

Billable hours are when the lawyer charges for every hour spent on your issue. You should try and get an idea of how many hours the lawyers expect to take. Keep in mind that even a short five-minute conversation can add much more to your final bill.

Flat Fee

A flat fee can provide a better idea of what you’re paying. The flat fee, however, may not cover all legal costs such as applying for a hearing with the fair work commission.

Conclusion

If you are facing a redundancy, hiring an expert redundancy lawyer is an important step in making sure you are aware of your rights. Although redundancy is a very stressful time, a redundancy lawyer can alleviate some of this stress by making sure you are not unfairly dismissed and potentially maximising your payout in a redundancy.

Need specialised advice regarding a redundancy? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our lawyer marketplace or any other legal needs.

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