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UK: Unfair Dismissal – Redundancy

Authors: Ruth Bonino, Corinna Harris and Sophie Jackson

HC-One Oval Ltd announced it was reducing the number of employees carrying out reception and administrative work. After Ms White, a part-time receptionist, was provisionally selected for redundancy, she requested voluntary redundancy which was accepted.

Ms White subsequently brought a claim for unfair dismissal in which she alleged that the redundancy process wasn’t genuine because a full-time receptionist, who had no childcare responsibilities, was recruited just before the redundancy process began and the two part-time receptionists were then dismissed. HC-One argued she had been fairly dismissed for redundancy at her own request and her claim should therefore that be struck out because it had no reasonable prospect of success.

The tribunal struck out the claim. However, the EAT found that the tribunal should still have considered whether the reason for redundancy and the process were fair. This case will now be sent back to the tribunal, to be considered by a different judge.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel

Requesting voluntary redundancy does not necessarily preclude employees from bringing a successful unfair dismissal claim. In these cases, the tribunal will consider whether the redundancy process and reason for redundancy were fair.