The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) is a piece of legislation that is designed to protect employees when the assets of a business are sold or a function is outsourced. In summary, TUPE gives employees automatic rights to transfer to the new employer, enhanced protection against dismissal, certain rights to be informed and consulted with prior to any transfer, and also limits the new employer’s ability to alter employees’ terms and conditions post-transfer. If you are impacted by the uncertainty of a takeover, merger, restructure or outsourcing and would like advice on your rights then we can assist.
Can you be dismissed under TUPE?
Yes. Although TUPE does give you special protection if there is a transfer of the business, or part of the business, there is still a potentially fair reason for dismissal provided for in the regulations. A dismissal may be fair if the employer can argue that the dismissal is for an economic, technical or organisational reason which entails a change in the workforce. This could be a relocation of the business, a redundancy situation or a major restructure which affects staff. A fair process would still need to be followed for any dismissal to be fair. If the only reason for dismissal is the TUPE transfer then the dismissal would be automatically unfair. This would give you the right, if you have two years continuous service, to claim unfair dismissal.
How long do you need to consult for TUPE?
There is no set timescale for informing and consulting but consultation must be meaningful. This means that any representative or individual consulted (if there are no trade union or employee representatives elected) needs to be provided with information about the transfer and any proposed changes and given the opportunity to discuss the impact of the changes.
Do you need 2 years service for TUPE?
No. Most TUPE protection can apply to all employees, however, you need two years continuous employment to claim unfair dismissal even if the dismissal is TUPE related.
What rights do I have under TUPE?
You have a number of protections under TUPE. These include the right to be informed about the transfer and the identity of any new employer and consulted with regarding any changes. Consultation will be with recognised trade unions or elected employee representatives unless employees do not select to elect representatives.
There is an automatic transfer of contractual terms and jobs to the new employer. So,
TUPE also protects your contractual terms (with the exception of old age, invalidity and survivors benefits in occupational pension schemes) meaning that any new employer cannot change your terms just because of a TUPE transfer. Any changes would need to be because of an economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce or because the terms of the contract itself allowed the particular change.
If you are dismissed because of the TUPE transfer this will be automatically unfair unless the reason was an economic, technical or organisational reason (ETO) entailing changes in the workforce. Even if there is an ETO reason for a dismissal then a fair process must still be followed.
If you are affected because of a substantial change to your working conditions to your material detriment, because of the TUPE transfer, this can give a right to resign and claim unfair dismissal under the TUPE regulations even if there is no breach of your contract by your employer.
TUPE protection substantially increases your protection and if you feel unfairly treated do contact us to discuss these rights.
Speak to TUPE Solicitors based in Oxford
Do you want to speak to someone to get legal help regarding TUPE? Here at Julian Taylor HR we’ve helped countless employees to understand their TUPE protections. Contact us today if you would like some help.