Dozens of former Arcadia staff who were notified today that they were out of work with immediate effect have begun the process of taking legal action against the retail giant amidst claims they have failed to follow the correct consultation when making redundancies.
The move comes after the ex-employees received confirmation that their jobs would not be saved as part of the widely publicised ASOS acquisition.
In one case, a Miss Selfridge head office worker who asked not to be named said he received the news while on a call with a representative from HR. One former worker at Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store has also spoken of her anger over being asked to volunteer to work until February 12th to help clear stock, or face having her wages halted with immediate effect.
While the online retail giant has taken over Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, the deal excluded stores, and around 2500 shop-based and warehouse roles are now reportedly at risk of redundancy.
More than 30 employees have already vowed to take action against Arcadia Group, amidst claims that they have been made redundant without notice or the correct consultation, with employment law experts at Aticus Law saying they are instructed to pursue a Protective Awards claim for compensation on their behalf.
The firm says it has been fielding calls from worried employees for several days amidst growing media reports about job losses.
The move will see the ex-staff take Arcadia Group to court for their case to be heard by an Employment Tribunal over concerns about how the redundancy process has been managed.
If successful, those involved in the challenge will be entitled to up to eight weeks’ worth of pay in compensation, with a cap of £538 per week.
Hannah Stewart-MacCallum of Aticus Law, who has worked on multiple cases against other major retailers such as Debenhams, as well as British regional airline Flybmi, said: “This has been a particularly difficult time for the Arcadia Group employees given the huge amount of speculation about whether there would be job losses as a result of the ASOS acquisition.
“Many found themselves continuing to turn up to work every day to process online orders amidst the continued uncertainty.
“However, despite the time it has taken to complete the deal, we’re receiving calls from former staff who say they were made redundant with immediate effect which, if that is the case, is in breach of employment law.
“When any company, regardless of whether they are going to be acquired by another owner, is proposing to make more than 20 employees redundant at one establishment, they must follow the correct consultation process.
“Based on what our clients are telling us, that wasn’t necessarily the case at Arcadia Group.
“We are already instructed to bring a claim for a Protective Award – which is basically compensation awarded by an Employment Tribunal if an employer fails in its duties – on behalf of more than 30 former employees who were based in stores and distribution centres, and the enquiries keep on coming.
“It’s a really vital safety net for so many families in fast-paced redundancy situations that often leave them with no source of income and absolutely no notice.
“Obviously we’re in the very early investigative stages here, but we’re doing all we can to process the information and ensure people get the support they need.”
Aticus law has launched a dedicated Arcadia Group eligibility tracker which ex-staff can use to check whether they are eligible to join the growing group action.