Redundancy and Workplace Restructuring

If you look at the news in Australia you will see plenty of warning signs about the impending downturn in the Australian economy. With any economic downturn brings change and sometimes this can have an impact in your workplace. Deutsche Bank, the global investment bank and financial services company made headlines this week by announcing significant workplace restructuring with 18,000 staff facing termination of employment. Many of these staff are based in Australia.


So what do you look out for if you are an Australian employee, like those at Deutsche Bank, faced with a workplace restructuring which might mean the loss of your job? Below Gordon Legal highlights 6 key areas which you should consider if you are faced with workplace restructuring and redundancy.


1: Check your employment contract. Executive level employees will often have detailed employment contracts. Those contracts will set out things that are to happen around termination of employment. The contract might refer policies which could include redundancy and workplace restructuring policies.


2: Check if you are covered by an award or enterprise agreement. Awards and Enterprise agreements will often impose requirements on employers that are looking to effect redundancies and workplace restructuring. Enterprise agreements or Awards often include things like the requirement to consider alternatives to termination of employment, consultation and notice requirements.


3: If you want to avoid losing your job (and that is what is being proposed) consider whether there are alternative things you can do in the business. Change your hours? Work a different role? Consider putting forward a case for why you should not lose your job as a result of the proposed restructure.


4: Consider and check your entitlements. This might include severance pay. It could include notice that the employer is required to give before effecting any termination of employment. For executive employees this will include checking things like long term incentives, short term incentives, share schemes, bonuses and how redundancy might impact upon those payments. Each scheme varies. It is important you take early advice about these matters to protect yourself. Check your award, enterprise agreement, contract, workplace policies and the national employment standards.


5: Consider what is to happen post termination of employment if it cannot be avoided. Do you want to contest the termination? Some employees are protected from unfair dismissal and there are rules set out in the Fair Work Act as to what constitutes a genuine redundancy. Do you have a post employment restraint? Will that be affected by the redundancy? Does your employer want you to sign a deed of release to get your payments (which arguably they cannot do).



6: Get advice! Redundancy and workplace restructuring can be intimidating. It can often feel like you are alone and not sure what to do. It is important to take proper advice about what your entitlements might be and how you can possibly fight back to stop the loss of your job. Executive employees in particular must consider the effect of post-employment restraints and the potential effect on things such as bonuses. The employment lawyers at Gordon Legal are skilled at advising employees on all aspects associated with workplace change. Whether you just need someone to advise you that you are being given your correct entitlements or need someone to go into bat for you with your employer we are skilled at adapting to your needs to ensure that you are able to put the best foot forward and deal confidently with the challenges which come from redundancy and workplace restructuring.

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