Redundancy and Unfair Dismissal

Redundancy and Unfair Dismissal

An interesting case is reported this week about redundancy, and whether it is unfair dismissal where there is a failure to consider an alternative. What’s interesting, is that this case concerned an employee who wanted to be furloughed, but the employer refused.  However, the upshot of the case is a useful reminder of what may be unfair dismissal in a redundancy case.

The case was in the Appeal Tribunal and was brought by a carer whose patient went into hospital during the pandemic.   That would on the face of it satisfy the definition which is “a reduction in the need for a worker of a particular kind”.  However, the employer has a duty to look for alternatives if it is to avoid unfair dismissal.

In this case, the employee could have been furloughed for a while to see if the patient came back out of hospital. However, the employer did not consider this, and therefore the redundancy was held to be an Unfair Dismissal.

The employer appealed and lost. The dismissal was unfair and this will apply to any redundancy where the employer fails to consider an alternative.

The best advice for employers consulting on redundancy is to take your time and don’t rush. Invite the employee to put forward any suggestions, and in fact invite such suggestions, to avoid redundancy. Otherwise, you may find a Tribunal deciding that the situation was an unfair dismissal, even if it might have been fair to think it was a redundancy in the first instance.

The judgement is well written and worth a read. It is available HERE.

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