So Deutsche Bank is planning to make thousands of redundancies and there are reports of passes being de-activated and staff in tears outside the bank's London HQ, just hours after arriving at work.
Reading press reports about high profile redundancies gives the impression that all employers need to do in such situations is give staff a cardboard box and tell them to clear their desk. In fact, there's a lot more to it than that and I'm sure Deutsche Bank's lawyers have been working on this for weeks.
If your business is struggling and cuts have to be made then redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee. But to avoid an unfair dismissal claim you will also need to follow a fair procedure. That doesn't mean handing your employees a box of Kleenex on the way out.
First you need to warn the employee that they are at risk of redundancy and invite them to a meeting to discuss why their role is at risk and whether there are any ways of avoiding redundancy. A set of objective selection criteria will be necessary if the employee is being selected from a pool of employees.
If 20 or more redundancies are being proposed in a 90-day period then the collective consultation obligations will arise. This involves working with recognised trade unions and/or employee representatives over a period of at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect (45 days where the employer proposes to dismiss 100 or more employees).
Both individual and collective consultation should be meaningful and it may be necessary to have several meetings before a final decision can be made. If an employee comes up with a way of avoiding the redundancy then don't dismiss it out of hand. And always consider alternative employment. Don't assume an employee won't be interested in a vacancy a grade or two lower.
Once it is clear that redundancy is the only option the employee should be notified of this and given the right to appeal against the decision. They will be entitled to notice and redundancy pay.
Who knows what is really going on at Deutsche Bank? My guess is that the employees at risk of redundancy have been sent home pending consultation meetings. It's very unlikely they have been dismissed. The bank may well seek to circumvent the required procedures by offering the employees enhanced redundancy, but they will first have to sign a Settlement Agreement confirming they will not seek to bring any claims against the bank. If I am wrong and there are any Deutsche Bank employees out there who were dismissed without procedure or compensation then it's time you found an employment lawyer.....
Deutsche Bank has made the first of the 18,000 job cuts announced on Sunday as part of a radical reorganisation. In London, some staff stayed away from work after being told their passes would stop working at 11:00.