Penman Quoted in HR Magazine on Mass Redundancies During COVID-19

October 20, 2020

McGuireWoods London associate Adam Penman was quoted in an Oct. 9, 2020, article for HR Magazine about what human resources departments should know during a period of mass redundancies in the United Kingdom.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, redundancies in the UK have accelerated at the fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis, and the scale of dismissals has introduced additional considerations for HR departments.

According to Penman, businesses must undertake a comprehensive cost-risk analysis at the outset because “making large-scale redundancies is likely to be an expensive exercise in terms of contractual and redundancy payments.”

This analysis should include weighing the risk of associated legal claims, he said. “HR teams should always be alive to the pecuniary risks of potential discrimination claims however, as selecting employees for dismissal based on length of service is likely to be indirect age discrimination.”

He also cited the importance of clear communication throughout the redundancy process, internally and externally: “Managing messaging will be key to business’ commercial reputation and perceived viability.”