Somerset CC v Chaloner
In the above case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that an employer cannot fairly consider a potentially redundant candidate for an alternative role if one person is aware of the full job description for the new role, but the other is not.
When the Council suffered a downturn, it was proposed that four senior management posts be reduced to two vacancies, one being Business Development Manager (“BDM”). Based on the job description, the Claimant considered her role comparable to the vacancy and she applied.
Upon further review, the Council’s finances were worse than initially thought and so the re-organisation was extended to other management, including the Finance Officer who applied for the BDM role. The job description was revised to include additional financial responsibilities and the additional candidate was considered. However, the Council did not inform the Claimant of either of these factors.
The Claimant was unsuccessful at interview and dismissed. She brought a claim for unfair dismissal and the Tribunal upheld her claim.
Kate Fretten, Employment Partner, says “The EAT concluded that the introduction of a competing candidate and an amended job description, both of which the Claimant was oblivious to, gave the Claimant’s competition an unfair advantage at interview. Employers may restructure as the Council did in this case, but they must consider all employees in a fair manner, which will include notifying them of any changes in the process, for it to be fair.”
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting to chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and Kate or Paul will be happy to discuss it with you.