Unfair Redundancy and Right of Appeal
In the recent case of Gwynedd Council v Barratt and anor the Court of appeal upheld a Tribunal decision that a school’s failure to provide a right of appeal rendered a redundancy dismissal unfair.
When will a failure to provide an opportunity to appeal a decision render a dismissal unfair?
The Court of Appeal has confirmed a Tribunal’s decision that a failure to provide an opportunity to appeal a selection for redundancy had rendered a dismissal unfair. However, the Court of Appeal did state that a failure to provide an appeal depends on the overall fairness of the case, and fell short of stating that it would only be an exceptional case that a dismissal was fair in the absence of a right of appeal.
This case leaves the door open to employers to argue that a failure to provide an appeal does not render a selection for redundancy unfair by itself. Employers are often frustrated by the need to hold an appeal given that others at risk of redundancy are likely to have been informed that they are now safe. Even so, most Tribunals would be likely to find that a dismissal is unfair in this scenario, as it would be fairly straightforward for an employer to inform an employee that they are: “safe subject to any appeals against the original decision by those selected.”
The practical reality is that most Employment Tribunals will only find that a dismissal is fair – in the absence of a right of appeal – where there are exceptional circumstances. As such, an employer who wishes to refuse a right of appeal should seek legal advice first to assess how risky this decision may be.
How can Cartwright King help with any employment issues?
Cartwright King’s Employment Law specialist support fairness and best practice in the workplace. They provide impartial and practical advice that aims to resolve any disagreements quickly, whilst preventing drawn-out or potentially negative disputes. For specialist advice in any of our areas of law, please call us or please email your enquiry using the contact form.
All advice is correct at time of publication.