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Employment Law Case Update: Green v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

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Some cases of redundancy seem cut and dry… but they rarely are. The case of Green v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham illustrates that you can never be too thorough on procedure.

Ms Green was employed by London Borough of Barking and Dagenham as a Senior Regeneration Professional. She was one of three employees performing broadly similar roles. There was a restructure in October 2012 which involved the removal of the three posts and creating two new roles.

With her colleagues Ms Green was invited to compete for the new roles. She was required to complete a written test and attend an interview. At the end of the process Ms Green had the lowest score and she was made redundant.

Ms Green issued a claim against the employer for unfair dismissal on the basis that the recruitment process was unfair. She was contending that one of the candidates had prior knowledge of the subject matter of the written test. She also claimed:-

  • There had been failure to consult meaningfully with her regarding the redundancy
  • The redundancy selection pool was not wide enough
  • She was not considered for a more junior role that was available
  • She was not offered the right to appeal

The employment tribunal focused on whether the employer had acted reasonably during the process and they did not consider why she was selected for redundancy originally. Their conclusion was that the employer had acted reasonably.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal on appeal concluded that the Employment Tribunal had misunderstood the case law they used to assist them and then had failed to consider Ms Green’s arguments in relation to procedural fairness of the process as a whole. The EAT held that the entire process should be reviewed by the Employment Tribunal to determine whether an employer acted reasonably at every stage.

This case shows that the Employment Tribunal does consider the whole redundancy process, and employers should remember to follow a fair process throughout including - identifying a selection pool, carrying out meaningful consultation and considering whether alternative employment is available. Employers should also remember to apply the principles set out in the ACAS code.

This article is from our weekly Employment Law Newsletter published on 17th August 2017.  If you would like to receive this newsletter directly and be kept up to date with recent cases and Employment Law news, email events@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.