Skip to content Skip to footer

Make sure your redundancy is genuine

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’ll have been working for your employer for at least 2 years by the time your job ends, check that your redundancy is genuine. A genuine redundancy is one where your employer has a real business reason to make you redundant - usually because:

  • your employer doesn’t need you to do your job any more
  • your workplace is closing
  • your employer is going out of business or has less demand for its services

What counts as genuine redundancy

You can be made redundant if:

  • the business is failing
  • the business, or part of it, has stopped operating (often called becoming insolvent or going bust)
  • your skills are no longer needed
  • your work is being done by other people, after a reorganisation
  • the business, or the work you’re doing, moves to another location
  • the business is taken over by another company
  • your employer was the sole owner of the business and they die

You can also be made redundant if new technology means your employer needs fewer people to do your job. But you shouldn’t be made redundant if new technology means the same job is done differently. 

For example, you can be made redundant if you worked in the train station ticket office and ticket machines are introduced - but you shouldn’t be made redundant just because a new schedule board is introduced.

Signs it might not be a genuine redundancy

Sometimes an employer might say you’re being made redundant to hide the true reason for dismissing you. 

Signs it might not be a genuine redundancy include:

  • your employer has recently taken on other people doing similar work
  • you have a bad relationship with your employer or other people at work
  • you're singled out or treated differently from other people at work

Your redundancy might also not be genuine if your employer has discriminated - for example if they make you redundant because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave.

Your employer could also have chosen you for an unfair reason. Unfair reasons include making you redundant because you’ve asked for one of your legal rights, made a health and safety complaint or been on an official strike.

What to do if you don’t think your redundancy is genuine

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice straight away if you don't think your redundancy is genuine. You might be able to challenge your redundancy.

You should also talk to a union rep if you’re in a union at work, and check any household insurance you have to see if it includes free legal advice.

Did this advice help?