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Redundancy and Unfair Selection

Importance of clear contractual terms

Redundancy and Unfair Selection – Importance of clear contractual terms


A recent decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (An Employee v An Employer UD1737/2011) highlights the importance of contractual documentation in light of any proposed redundancies. Here the claimant argued that her selection for redundancy was unfair on the basis of “LIFO” on specific sites was not mentioned in her contract of employment.

Background

Here the respondent provided security, cleaning and other services to commercial clients on a contract basis. The claimant was employed as a Security Officer from 17th May 2007 until she was made redundant on 23rd March 2011. The claimant was assigned to one particular site for the duration of her employment. Shortly before the redundancy the client for that site wished to reduce by half the amount of time required for security on that site but to ensure consistency the respondent decided to make seven of the fourteen security officers redundant.

The selection criteria used in determining those to be made redundant was “last in, first out” on a site specific basis. As the claimant was one of the last seven to be employed on the site, she was subsequently made redundant. The claimant argued that the policy of “last in, first out” or LIFO should not have been site specific as there was no mention of this in her contract of employment.

Determination

The Tribunal noted that the selection for redundancy was on a site specific “last in first out ” basis however there was no stipulation in the claimant’s contract of employment that she was employed on a site specific basis and the respondent reserved the right to transfer the claimant from one site to another if so desired. It was the claimant’s evidence that she expected to be transferred to another sire instead of being made redundant however this option was never discussed with her. The fact of her redundancy was presented to her as a “fait accompli”.

The Tribunal was not satisfied that the respondent considered alternatives to making the claimant redundant even though it was within their power to do so and therefore the Tribunal found that the claimant was unfairly selected for redundancy and thereby unfairly dismissed.

The claimant was awarded €10,000 under the Unfair Dismissal Acts 1977 (as amended)

 

 

 


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