Insensitive redundancy criticised
Posted: 30th November 2016
A senior property management company employee who was made redundant in an insensitive and perfunctory manner after more than 40 years' service has had his compensation hopes boosted by a powerfully worded decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The company took the view that there were too many senior managers in the department in which Mr Thomas worked and had identified him as at risk of redundancy. He was immediately placed on paid gardening leave and told that he should not contact clients or colleagues.
He was shocked and upset on being made redundant and it was particularly hurtful to him that a letter sent to him by the company was addressed to ‘Dear Paul’, although his name was Peter. He lodged an unfair dismissal complaint with an Employment Tribunal (ET), arguing that the consultation process leading up to his redundancy had been a sham and its result predetermined.
Although the company argued that there had been no suitable alternative vacancies that the man could have filled, the ET was highly critical of the way in which the matter had been handled. However, it went on to reject the man’s claim on the basis that the consultation process had been reasonable.
In upholding the man’s appeal and overturning that decision, the EAT noted that it was troubled by the apparent contradiction in the ET’s reasoning. It was difficult to see how the consultation process could have been perfunctory and insensitive whilst at the same time being reasonable. The claim was sent back to a freshly constituted ET for rehearing.