Robots are building cars, making products and packing them and have been doing this for a long time. However, technology is changing the way we also shop with the advent of e-commerce which has seen retailers struggling to compete with for some time. Amazon has further shifted the balance by recently opening a grocery shop in Seattle called Amazon Go, where the only job people have is to re-stock the shelves and ID people buying alcohol.
Employees being replaced by robots or automated systems are subsequently being made redundant A fair procedure has to be followed otherwise a purported redundancy can become an unfair dismissal
There is a required consultation phase, but the law does not require employers to justify their business reasons for making redundancies. Provided that redundancy is the true reason for dismissal an Employment Tribunal will not look behind the business decision to see how the redundancy situation arose. It must however involve a reduction in staff numbers, and cannot be a fair reason for dismissing a particular employee and replacing them with someone else.
It is a requirement of a fair process that consultations are held with employees before any firm decisions are made.
The consultation should consider the following:
It is vital that a company carries out a fair and thorough redundancy process or they might face heavy compensation payments of up to a year’s salary per employee if they have been unfairly dismissed following an unfair redundancy procedure.