When the business you work in is sold, or your employer loses a contract to provide services to a client, any changes affecting your employment might give rise to a claim. These are often called “TUPE claims” after the law – the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations – which gives TUPE its name.

Warning: the time limits for bringing all employment claims are really short, so you need to take specialist employment law advice quickly.

If the business that you work for is acquired by a new employer, the business might make changes to the workforce after this acquisition has taken place.  For example, the board might decide that there are too many employees working in a particular division.  The employer might decide to reduce its employees to ensure that the business is running in a profitable manner. Alternatively, your employer might decide that you need to relocate.

In certain circumstances, your employment and employment rights will be protected when there is a change to the business that you work for, or the division that you work in.

Some common situations are:

  1. If your employer is bought out by another business

If the business that you work for is acquired by another business:

  • your continued employment with the new business might be protected, meaning that your employment cannot be terminated before or after the purchase, except in specific circumstances.
  • the terms and conditions of your employment might also be protected, meaning that they can’t be changed.

There are specific rules regarding whether your employment, and the terms and conditions of your employment, will be protected after the business that you work for has been purchased.

The rules surrounding this are complex and depend on a number of factors.  It will be beneficial to talk to a specialist employment law solicitor if the business that you work for is transferring to someone else, and you want to identify whether the protection applies to your employment.

The following list indicates the factors that might apply in determining whether your employment will be protected, following the transfer of the business:

  • whether the business that takes place after the purchase is the same as the business that took place before. Essentially, this question asks whether the activities that are carried on before and after the purchase are similar;
  • whether the employees have transferred over in order to work in these functions;
  • whether the businesses’ customers and suppliers are the same after the transfer as they were before the transfer.
  1. If the service that you are involved in providing has changed hands:

Your employment, and the terms and conditions of your employment, may be protected in the following circumstances:

  • you work for a service that your employer provides in-house, and the business decides for this to be outsourced;
  • you work for an outsourced service, and the business decides to bring this service in-house (insourcing);
  • you work as part of a team delivering a particular service that is already outsourced (for another company), and the business that the service is provided to decides to change provider.

Again, there are various criteria that need to be satisfied to ensure that your employment, and its terms and conditions, are protected if one of the above occurs.  It will be necessary to speak to a specialised employment solicitor to identify if your employment is protected and what potential employment claims you may have.  Examples of the types of factors that might mean that your employment is protected are as follows:

  • the nature of the service that is provided is the same;
  • the same employees are involved in providing the service before and after the service provider changed;
  • the service is delivered to the same customer or group of customers.

Frequently Asked Questions About TUPE Claims

What does it mean if my employment is protected by the transfer of business or service law?

If your employment is protected, this means a number of things:

  • You will be entitled to receive certain information about the transfer and your employer should also consult with your employee representatives in respect of any changes they envisage making.
  • The business that you work for should not terminate your employment because of the change in business owner or the transfer, except in specific circumstances and if particular steps have taken place. A specialised employment solicitor will be able to provide you with more information about when your employment contract can be terminated and the steps that the business would need to take to achieve this.
  • The company that you work for cannot make changes to your terms and conditions of employment after the business has been acquired or the organisation that provides the service has changed, except in specific circumstances. Again, a specialised employment solicitor will be able to advise you about this in greater detail.

What should I do if I am dismissed before, or after, the business that I work for is purchased or the service is changed?

If you are dismissed in circumstances that the business that you work for is being bought and/or the overall provider of a service is being changed, you might have a claim for unfair dismissal.  In fact, if you are dismissed in these circumstances, your dismissal could be deemed to be automatically unfair.  This means that your employer will not be able to argue that they acted reasonably in dismissing you. As with ordinary unfair dismissal claims, you will need to have 2 years continuous service in order to bring an unfair dismissal claim.

If you are concerned that your rights have been breached, it is always advisable to speak to a specialist employment law solicitor as soon as possible. Truth Legal might be able to bring a claim for you using a No Win, No Fee agreement or we might be able to use your Legal Expenses Insurance to bring a claim for you at no or very little cost.

Our page on unfair dismissal claims provides further information about these types of claims.

What can I do if I am unfairly dismissed as a result of a change of employer or transfer of a business?

The options open to you differ depending on the type of unfair dismissal claim that you might be entitled to bring.

If you can bring a claim for automatically unfair dismissal, there is no cap on the amount of compensation that you can claim.  However, if you are only able to bring a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal, the amount of compensation that you are entitled to can’t be more than one year’s salary or the statutory cap (currently £89,493 for the year 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022), whichever is the lower.Compensation is calculated on the basis of net loss of earnings and benefits for a certain period of time.

How will I fund my claim?

You might be concerned about how you will be able to fund a claim for unfair dismissal arising out of a transfer or change of provision of a business service.

Truth Legal can discuss your options with you.

  1. No Win No Fee Agreement:

One option is that Truth Legal may be able to offer you a “no win, no fee agreement”.  We will be able to talk to you about the merits of your claim early on and potential compensation.  We will also be able to explain the basis on which we can advise you, so you will have a clear understanding about your legal costs.

  1. Legal Expenses Insurance:

You may have legal expenses cover under a home insurance, or other insurance, policy that covers employment tribunal claims. It is always worth checking your policy.

  1. Fixed fee work

We may be able to offer to carry out work on a fixed fee basis. This means that we will agree a price to get you to a particular point. Additional work can always be undertaken.

  1. Low hourly rated work

Like most law firms, we can also accept instructions, charging you an hourly rate. We are proud to offer lower rates for such work.

  1. Crowdfunding

We have partnered with CrowdJustice, a leading crowdfunding platform specifically designed to help clients get access to funding for their case. Find out more about Crowdfunding for legal cases.

Finding out more information

If you would like more information on claiming, or you wish to discuss your situation, contact us today. If you require a more in-depth consultation, we offer 2-hour appointments for just £280 incl. vat, with no obligation to proceed further. You can book your employment consultation here.  You can also read more about TUPE claims here.

Let us help you to claim the compensation you deserve.

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Meet The Employment Law Team

Navya Shekhar
Navya ShekharHead of Employment Law
Miroslaw Ksiezarek
Miroslaw KsiezarekLegal Assistant
Katherine Swinn
Katherine SwinnEmployment Solicitor
Yvonne Atherton
Yvonne AthertonEmployment Law Consultant
Sanjay Rall
Sanjay RallSolicitor