Dismissals for Redundancy

Dismissals for Redundancy

Dismissals for Redundancy

A redundancy is a dismissal as a result of a workplace closing down or the employer needing fewer employees to do work of a particular kind.

Berkeley Catering Ltd v Jackson

In Berkeley Catering Ltd v Jackson the question was whether the reason that an employer needed fewer employees made a difference to whether or not there was a redundancy situation.

Mrs Jackson was the Managing Director of a company owned by Mr Patel. Over the course of 2017 Mr Patel began – as he himself admitted - to undermine Mrs Jackson and disparage her in front of colleagues. He also began to take a more active role in the business.

In 2018 he decided that he would step in as a full time CEO, making the role of Managing Director redundant. After a series of consultation meetings, Mrs Jackson was dismissed.

Redundancy and unfair dismissal

She claimed unfair dismissal, arguing that her redundancy was bogus. The Tribunal upheld her claim. There was no diminishing need for an MD role. Mr Patel had simply decided to increase the amount of time that he put into the company.

There was no financial difficulty and the employer had taken on an Events Director after Mrs Jackson was made redundant, indicating that there was no diminishing need for senior management staff as a whole.

Redundancy dismissals: Does motive matter?

On appeal, the EAT held that this was the wrong approach. The Tribunal had distracted itself by asking whether there was a ‘genuine’ redundancy situation. A redundancy situation either existed or it did not and an employer was free to organise its affairs in such a way as to reduce its requirement for employees.

If it did so, then the motive behind that decision was irrelevant to the question of whether or not there was a redundancy. Motive was of course relevant to the issue of reasonableness, both in terms of whether the employer had acted in good faith and whether Mrs Jackson should have been offered the role of Events Director.

But the Tribunal had fallen into error by bringing motive into play when considering whether there was a redundancy situation. The case was sent back to a different employment tribunal to decide whether the redundancy situation was genuinely the reason for dismissal and whether the dismissal was fair.

A specialist employment solicitor's view

Chris Dobbs, specialist employment solicitor says "redundancies can be notoriously murky territory and this case proves that even the Tribunal can take the wrong approach in assessing relevant factors.

The primary question in a redundancy claim of this kind is whether or not there is a genuine redundancy situation. As the EAT noted, motive is irrelevant in making this determination. The correct approach is whether the redundancy situations exists in the first place and then whether redundancy was the ‘real’ reason for the dismissal which is where motive becomes relevant."

COVID advice and guidance: Stay up to date

Throughout the pandemic, our team of bright lawyers have been publishing guidance on the ever-changing regulations. The timely updates are published on our website in plain English and shared on our social media channels.

To be the first to hear about any updates, you can register for our free newsletter (and choose the topics you want to hear about) here.

Business solicitors in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Ringwood

At Frettens, we offer a free initial appointment for all new clients. This usually takes place over a coffee with one of our bright lawyers at our modern, conveniently located offices, but can also be over the phone or video call.

If you’d like to speak with one of our bright, friendly team, you can fill in the form on this page or give us a call on 01202 499255.