Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Unfair Dismissal: Redundancy / Reorganisation

Thanks to Lisa Joyce of DTM Legal LLP for preparing this case summary

Can an employer consider a potentially redundant candidate for an alternative role fairly, if one candidate is aware of the full job description but the other is not?
No, according to the EAT in Somerset CC v Chaloner.
When the Respondent 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 Respondent’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, but the Respondent omitted to inform the Claimant of either. The Claimant was unsuccessful at interview and dismissed.
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. As such, the Respondent failed to consider the Claimant in a fair manner and the dismissal was found to be unfair.

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