Former staff of the Arcadia Group who have been made redundant could be entitled to up to eight weeks’ pay following the firm’s collapse into administration. Two firms have said that more than 150 former employees have come forward, claiming that they were not properly consulted before being made redundant.
If an employer is making 20 or more redundancies within a 90-day period, there are rules that must be followed. The employer must hold a group consultation between them and either Trade Union representatives or representatives from their employees.
The consultation must include written details of:
The consultation does not have to end in an agreement and must start at least 30 days before anyone’s job terminates. If more than 99 people are being made redundant, group meetings must begin at least 45 days before the termination of anyone’s job. These obligations will still apply even if the organisation in question is in administration.
If these procedures are not undertaken, then the dismissal of the employees could be considered ‘unfair’ by an Employment Tribunal and could entitle them to a ‘protective award’ of up to 90 days’ wages, capped at £4,353 each.
Up to 12,000 people are set to lose their jobs after Arcadia brands Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton and Dorothy Perkins were bought out by Asos and Boohoo, who have not taken on the group’s hundreds of physical shops. Former staff claim that they only learnt that that they had lost their jobs via press releases and reports in the media – no consultation as required by law was undertaken.
Damian Kelly, head of employment law at Simpson Millar, one of the firms handling claims by former employees, said: “While some companies are struggling because of the pandemic, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies. Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a protective award.”
The Union for shopworkers Usdaw said that the administrator responsible for Arcadia had refused to engage with the Union. It said that it was consulting with its members and would consider seeking compensation for those affected.
Usdaw is already backing a similar claim for former employees of Debenhams, a brand which was bought by Boohoo for £55 million. Previous claims for protective claims for workers have been awarded to employees of BHS, electrical goods chain Comet and numerous other collapsed firms.
Stella Maris Solicitors can help you if you think that you have been unfairly dismissed. If you have been made redundant without consultation, or feel that your dismissal was unfair for another reason, contact us on 01793 296118 or email@example.com for more information and advice.