My friend's company is making redundancies but she has been told by the CEO when he was on a visit to their office, that she (and her entire satellite office) will be OK however 50% of them are on notice as they're in the departments that are affected by the said redundancies.

Should she be optimistic or ignore it? Also if someone was to be made redundant is there any legal issues that could arise from this?

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    Only believe that if you have it in writing, and often, not even then... Sadly, she needs to plan now for the worst.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 4, 2019 at 8:50
  • I assume that the 50% have been told that they are "at risk" it may be they are rationalising offices and your friends office is not so much at risk. What sort of legal issues where you thinking about Jul 4, 2019 at 18:49
  • Im not sure, from what shes told me its given some of them hope but hes done this before when hes said it and then 2 people got fired so shes trying not to get too relaxed by it. Is there anything legal that he is accountable for for potentially giving false hope where there might not be any?
    – UIO
    Jul 4, 2019 at 18:57
  • @UIO I don't think there is any legal recourse but in your position I would advise your friend to start looking for another job outside this company. Best case other people are laid off and friend inherits additional workload and responsibilities on top of their already (presumed) full time job, Worst case it's as other answers have suggested -- keeping them sweet long enough to meet the business plan, etc. Jul 4, 2019 at 20:06
  • "This office will be OK" has a subtly different meaning than "everyone in this office will be OK" and even then "OK" could include "will be paid a reasonable severance package". Basically what the CEO said is meaningless, and he knew this when he said it.
    – Gaius
    Jul 7, 2019 at 13:25

4 Answers 4


Talk is cheap. I think she should be worried. The CEO probably wants your friend and others like her to work until he decides who goes and who stays.

If people start to leave because they are likely to be laid off it might create problems for the company. If the CEO can make his life easier by being optimistic, why shouldn't he do that.

If he had said "you should be worried" your friend might leave because of that. Then the CEO might have enticed him to leave and the CEO might be liable for that. I don't know if something like that exists in the UK, but it probably isn't a good move regardless.

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    This! The ones who manage to leave now will be the ones with get-up-and-go, and the best qualified. They are the ones that the CEO want's to keep. Jul 4, 2019 at 9:49
  • This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. It could very well mean both "You and your team is safe" and "You and your team is going to get hit hardest". Talk is cheap, but not every piece of information is a conspiracy against you. I would not be more or less worried as a result of this information, keeping on the lookout for opportunities is prudent when layoffs or reorganizations are inbound - no matter what informal information has been given to you.
    – Stian
    Jul 4, 2019 at 12:39
  • @Stian You are right. This might mean nothing and she is save. But the information content of what the CEO told her is exactly zero. Some reasons are in my answer. Another might be, that he might not be the one who decides who is redundant and can be laid off. It might not be the time to look frantically for a new job because she will get axed anyway but it might be the time to get your cv in order and get some written references. Maybe even argue for a raise. People who get raises beacuse they are worth something to the company probably are less likely to be laid off. Jul 4, 2019 at 13:24

No harm in having a CV ready to go out and be keeping an eye on the vacancies, or even send them out. However, it's possible she could receive a redundancy payment if she is laid off - if that's the case, she should not leave because she's afraid of being made redundant!

  • Assuming there is one. Not all countries require it.
    – nvoigt
    Jul 4, 2019 at 11:14
  • @nvoigt - Of course - edited accordingly
    – komodosp
    Jul 4, 2019 at 11:21
  • OP said UK so v.likely she will get a severance package, in my experience.
    – Gamora
    Jul 4, 2019 at 12:33

she has been told by the CEO when he was on a visit to their office, that she (and her entire satellite office) will be ok

Likely to be a nice tactic by the CEO to try to stop people leaving early, IMHO.

Perhaps I'm particularly sceptical, but if anything I'd actually read the opposite into that. I'd think the CEO knows I'm likely to be made redundant, but wants to avoid an early mass exit from worried staff as that could create problems, so is trying to ensure that doesn't happen.

Your friend should update her CV and start job hunting ASAP.

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    If she has worked there for any length of time, the UK redundancy packages can be quite generous (1 month salary per year of service is not unusual). Worth factoring in to any resignation plans. Jul 4, 2019 at 11:39
  • @LaconicDroid Yes, absolutely. (I didn't realise she was based in the UK.)
    – berry120
    Jul 4, 2019 at 13:34

Making people redundant is actually a lot of work. Nobody does that "just because". A company that lays off people is in financial trouble or had a merger recently that actually created an obvious redundancy.

Laying off people will not solve the financial problems of a company. You might be next. Or maybe not. But that's not your decision. Somebody will decide your fate at a point of time that is not of your choosing and without your input or consideration.

The only exception to this is if your company was part of a merger and actually has redundancies because of this. Then it might be a one-time occurrence (or at least one time per merger).

So if this happened without a merger taking place, the company is still in financial trouble and you might be next. The question is when not if you are shown the door. Do not let other people decide your fate. Make the decision to switch jobs when you want to do it, not when an accountant at a different branch pulls your file number from a random bucket to save the bottom line.

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