Dismissal by reason of redundancy may be fair or unfair.
In particular, it will be unfair dismissal if the selection of a particular individual for redundancy was unfair or if there was a total failure to consider suitable alternative employment.
Prior to the repeal of the statutory dispute resolution procedures, a dismissal by reason of redundancy was automatically unfair if the statutory procedures required before an employee could be properly dismissed were not followed.
A woman who was dismissed by way of redundancy from her job at a North Wales holiday park after she had complained that she had been bitten by fleas has won her claim of unfair dismissal. Maria Moon worked in the coffee shop at Hafan y MÔr holiday centre in Gwynedd. She was provided with accommodation, which she shared with another employee.
Ms Moon told the Employment Tribunal (ET) that the chalet she occupied had no heating, the shower was broken, the mattresses were soiled and the walls were damp and mouldy. One night, she awoke feeling feverish and with what appeared to be an itchy rash on her right arm.
One of the chefs at the holiday centre took her to see a doctor who said that the rash had been caused by insect bites, probably from rat fleas. Ms Moon was given antibiotics and was absent from work for four days. Following her complaint to the management, Ms Moon’s chalet was fumigated. However, a few days after she had moved back in, she was bitten again and lodged a further complaint.
In May 2008, Ms Moon was told that she was being dismissed because the management of the park had decided that the coffee shop was overstaffed. She brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The ET heard evidence from David Evans, a manager at Hafan y MÔr, that the staff accommodation was ‘basic but serviceable’.
He said that if the standard of the chalets had been any higher, they would have been used as guest accommodation. Mr Evans admitted that Ms Moon was the only person considered for dismissal and no attempt had been made to consult with other workers. He said he had tried to find suitable alternative work but none was available.
In addition, he had failed to follow the normal statutory redundancy dismissal procedures. The ET found that the reason for Ms Moon’s dismissal was more likely to have been because she had raised health and safety issues with her employer and she was awarded an undisclosed sum in compensation.
Law Firm Pinder Reaux and Associates says, “Although the ACAS Code of Practice that has replaced the statutory dispute resolution procedures does not apply to redundancy dismissals, selection for redundancy must still be fair and made using objective criteria. We can advise you on any redundancy matter.”