I have told my Employer that I will accept voluntary redundancy but have changed my mind, what can I do?
If you have agreed to accept voluntary redundancy and your employment has not yet been terminated you can ask your Employer to withdraw your application.
The Employer may refuse to accept your withdrawal and could proceed with your dismissal for redundancy.
What happens if my Employer refuses to accept my withdrawal?
You will be dismissed for redundancy and whether you have a claim for unfair dismissal will depend very much on how the Employer has behaved and notably whether they have acted reasonably.
If your Employer gave you information about your voluntary redundancy when you were offered the opportunity to apply then it is more likely that your dismissal would be fair. For example if the Employer gave you a date by which you could change your mind or informed you that once you had agreed there would be no opportunity to withdraw.
This is does not mean that definitively your Employer’s refusal would be reasonable, but it would be a good indication if they had given you a fair opportunity to withdraw previously.
Can I claim Unfair Dismissal?
As set out above you can claim unfair dismissal if your Employer continues to dismiss you and the Employment Tribunal will look at the fairness of your dismissal and apply the test of reasonableness.
The test of reasonableness is set out in law as:
1) Whether in the circumstances (including the size and administrative resources of the Employer) the Employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating it as a sufficient reason for dismissal; and
2) It shall be determined in accordance with equity and the substantial merits of the case.
In your case this means that the Employment Tribunal will assess the following factors:
1) The clarity and transparency of the voluntary redundancy scheme;
2) What the Employer told you about the voluntary redundancy scheme;
3) The date and timing of your withdrawal of your voluntary redundancy;
4) The effect your withdrawal would have on the whole redundancy process;
5) Overall whether the Employer had acted fairly.
What should I do?
If you have changed your mind about voluntary redundancy you should speak to your Employer immediately and without delay. If your Employer refuses to agree, put your withdrawal in writing and stipulate the reasons why.
If the reason for your withdrawal is because you acted in haste, without thinking about it or because you felt under pressure, ensure that you state this in your letter.
If the letter makes no difference to the Employer’s response and you are dismissed you should appeal against your dismissal, again without delay and seek advice about a claim for unfair dismissal.