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Challenge your redundancy

This advice applies to Scotland

If your employer did something wrong during your redundancy process, you might be able to challenge their decision.

You should start by talking to your employer. You might also be able to use your employer's formal appeals process.

If this doesn’t work, you can try to solve your problem through a mediation process called ‘early conciliation’. You must complete early conciliation before you can take legal action. You take legal action by making a claim to the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. However, it can be difficult to prove that there was a problem with a redundancy decision.

Usually you can only claim unfair dismissal if you were in your job for 2 years when you’re made redundant. In some cases the 2 year limit doesn’t apply, for example if you’re dismissed because of discrimination or an ‘automatically unfair’ reason.

If you’re a member of a trade union, contact them as soon as possible. They might be able to help you talk to your employer and give you legal advice about your situation.

Check any insurance policies you have - they might cover some of the cost of going to a lawyer for advice. Look to see if the policies include ‘legal expenses insurance’. It’s worth checking:

  • household insurance
  • your agreement with your credit card company

If you’re not sure, contact the insurance company and ask them if the policy will cover your legal costs.

If you're not sure if you can challenge your redundancy

You should check if you have a good reason to challenge your redundancy. 

You might have a good reason if your employer:

  • didn’t need to make redundancies
  • chose you for an ‘automatically unfair’ reason
  • didn’t use the right redundancy process
  • didn’t offer you other available work

Check there need to be redundancies

Your employer must have a genuine need to make redundancies, such as your workplace closing.

Check the reasons for your redundancy are genuine.

Check the reason you were chosen

Your employer isn’t allowed to choose you for redundancy for reasons that are ‘automatically unfair’. These include:

  • not working full time
  • whistleblowing
  • trade union membership
  • using a protected employment right, for example asking to be paid the National Minimum Wage

You can still be chosen for redundancy if these situations apply to you, but they can’t be the reason you were chosen.

It's also automatically unfair if the reason for your redundancy is discriminatory - for example, if it's related to your disability.

Check the reason you were chosen for redundancy was fair.

Check your employer’s redundancy process

Your employer has to use a fair process for choosing who is made redundant. They also have to meet with everyone affected by redundancies. If 20 or more people are being made redundant, they also have to hold a group consultation.

Check your employer followed the right redundancy process.

Check your employer tried to find you other work

Your employer should try to find you another job. If they don't and you've worked for them for more than 2 years, it could make your redundancy unfair. 

If you’re on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave when you’re made redundant, your employer must offer you other available work. You get priority over other people being made redundant.

Check your employer followed the right process for finding you other work.

Talk to your employer

If you think you have a good reason to challenge your redundancy, you should talk to your employer. Explain the problem and ask them to change their decision. You can do this in person or write a letter. 

If your employer invites you to a meeting, you should ask if a work colleague or a trade union representative can come with you.

Get help with talking to your employer.

If talking to your employer doesn't work

If your company has a formal appeals process, you can use it to  challenge your redundancy. Check your intranet or staff handbook, or talk to HR to see what you need to do.

Start your appeal as soon as you's a time limit if you later want to  make a claim to an employment tribunal. Check the time limits for beginning early conciliation so you don't run out of time.  You can begin early conciliation even if your appeal hasn't finished.

If your employer doesn't have a formal appeals process, you'll need to begin early conciliation. 

Begin early conciliation

If you can't solve the problem through an appeal, you need to try and solve it through mediation. This is called 'early conciliation'. You have to try early conciliation before you can make a tribunal claim.

To begin early conciliation,  contact Acas to let them know you want to make a tribunal claim. Acas provides a free, impartial service to help you and your employer reach an agreement without going to court.

Get in touch with Acas as soon as you can. The deadline is 3 months minus 1 day from when your employment ended.

If your employer has discriminated against you, the deadline is 3 months minus 1 day from the act of discrimination you are complaining about.

Acas will see if your employer will agree to early conciliation'. They'll help you talk to your employer and try to resolve the dispute. If you can't solve the problem through early conciliation, Acas will give you an early conciliation certificate. You will need this for making your claim to an employment tribunal.

You can tell Acas you want to make a tribunal claim on their website. After you submit the form, they'll contact you to offer early conciliation. Check how to use early conciliation.

Make a claim to an employment tribunal

Taking your employer to a tribunal is the final way you can challenge your redundancy.

Tribunals can be stressful, and you might not win your case.To make a claim to a tribunal, you need to have:

  • an early conciliation certificate from Acas
  • evidence that supports your case 

To start your claim you’ll need to fill in a claim form. Check how to make an employment tribunal claim.

If you’re finding things difficult

You should talk to your GP if your redundancy is affecting your mental health. 

You can also get help on the Breathing Space website.

If you need to speak to someone right now you can call the Samaritans for free.


Helpline: 116 123 (Monday to Sunday at any time)

Welsh Language Line: 0808 164 0123 (Monday to Sunday 7pm to 11pm)


You can also text 'SHOUT' to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained Shout 85258 volunteer. Texts are free, anonymous and confidential from anywhere in the UK.

If you think it's an emergency

If you think your life or someone else’s is at risk, you should call 999 or go to A&E if you can.

If you need support you can call NHS 24 on 111, the Mental Health Hub is open 24/7.

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