In the UK, there are many employment laws in place to protect individuals from unfair dismissal. In this article, we look at the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation, how it works, and how a lawyer can help if you are wrongly dismissed during a business transition.
If you’re at all worried that you’re not getting the protection you deserve under TUPE, our employment lawyers can help, give us a call on 020 3795 9020.
What is TUPE?
Put simply, TUPE is a set of employment regulations that are enshrined in law and protect you when the company you work for is either sold or undergoes a a transition (TUPE Transfer).
Typically, TUPE applies to companies of all sizes and initiates when:
- The company outsources services.
- A businesses transitions to implement outsourced services in-house.
- The owner sells the business.
If the business you work for undergoes a merger or the owner decides to sell the business, TUPE protects you as it will mean that the new company can use your current employment contract and terms.
Can my employer dismiss during a TUPE transfer?
In short, NO!
Your existing (or new) employer cannot dismiss you because their business is undergoing a TUPE Transfer. If you are dismissed by your employer claiming the TUPE Transfer is the reason, you have a case for unfair dismissal.
It would be very unusual for an employer to dismiss you under a TUPE Transfer. Instead, employers will often make you redundant once a transfer is complete, claiming one of the following reasons:
It’s important to note that redundancies may happen at any stage within the TUPE Transfer process.
Unfortunately, TUPE regulations do not protect against redundancies. However, don’t worry. There may be options you can pursue legally to gain compensation. For example, if your employer hasn’t followed the correct procedures under TUPE or the redundancy regulations.
How to identify if your employer hasn’t followed the correct TUPE or redundancy procedures
Your employer must follow specific redundancy processes before dismissing you. For example, if you are going to be affected by TUPE, your employer has to inform you through either Trade Union reps or employee representatives. The information you receive from the representatives should include:
- The date and time the transfer is happening
- The reasons for the TUPE transfer
- How the transfer will affect you, and if there will be any redundancies
- Details of any agency staff and their work.
Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees do not need to follow this procedure and can directly contact you.
In addition to the points above, when it comes to the TUPE regulations, a new employer who takes over a business must:
- Maintain your original terms and conditions of employment
- Keep your length of employment the same, so you have continuous employment
- Keep your holiday entitlement the same
- Honour any union recognition collective conditions that may affect your terms and conditions of employment
If you work for a business that recently went under a TUPE Transitions and your employer has not followed the above points, you may have a case for unfair dismissal.
When might TUPE not apply?
There are various situations when TUPE transition regulations don’t apply, for example:
- The employer has sold part of the company (rather than the entire company), meaning your employer will remain the same.
- TUPE is relaxed when your old employer decides to close down due to financial constraints.
If you are unsure whether you are covered under TUPE transition regulations, give us a call on 020 3795 9020.
How can an employment lawyer help you?
If you suspect that you have been dismissed or made redundant because of a TUPE transition, seek legal advice, you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal. For more information on unfair dissmisal, click here.
The key benefits of using an employment lawyer with regards to a TUPE transition matter include:
- An employment lawyer can help gather any evidence that may be necessary for the employment tribunal.
- Provide you with information on your legal standpoint and the options available to you.
- Provide court representation
An employment lawyer will help you access any compensation you are owed and will work hard to prove that your dismissal was unfair. Furthermore, they can help you with the early conciliation process through ACAS.