Recent decision on redundancy demonstrates the need to follow fair procedures
A recent reported case of the Workplace Relations Commission has highlighted the need to ensure that consultation has taken place, regard has been had to alternatives and that the decision is not rushed.
In this case, the claimant oversaw the print room of the Institute of Education. He was called into a meeting on the 11th of January to discuss a possible redundancy. He was made redundant two days later on the 13th of January when he was brought into a further meeting. There was no note taker taking notes on behalf of the company. The claimant took his own notes of the second meeting.
What is interesting about this case is that it was acknowledged by the adjudicator that the complainant’s line manager had been made redundant a number of months prior to this and it was clear that there had been a reduction in work. However, what was fatal for the Institute’s defense of the complainant’s action was:-
- The speed at which the decision was made i.e. only two days between the 1st meeting and the 2nd meeting.
- No evidence that any alternatives to redundancy were considered.
- There was no consultation process with the employee. There was growing friction between the complainant and the principal in the Institute and the WRC found that the speed of the process was disturbing in this context.
The adjudication officer held that the dismissal was substantively and procedurally unfair and awarded the complainant €35,000 in compensation which was equivalent to one year’s pay.
In conclusion, it is important to note that it is not enough for an employer to identify a redundancy situation and carry out the redundancy even where it is a genuine case without going through fair procedures and ensuring that natural justice is observed. It is also crucial to seek to identify other options and alternatives to redundancy.
For any advice on employment matters please contact Brendan Dillon or Conor White on 01 296 0666.