The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has held that a competitive interview process can reasonably be used in considering potentially redundant employees for alternative employment but failing to properly consult can give rise to unfairness.
In Gwynedd Council v Barratt, two teachers were dismissed by reason of redundancy following the closure of the school. Neither teacher was consulted about the redundancies, but informed their employment would be terminated by reason of redundancy when the school closed. Both teachers were invited to apply for roles at a new school, were unsuccessful in their applications, and neither was offered a right to appeal their dismissal. The EAT concluded that, although competitive interviews can be used to select potentially redundant candidates for alternative employment, redundancy consultation must still be undertaken. Although the lack of appeal would not make a redundancy dismissal automatically unfair, in this case employees should have been given the right of appeal.
Fair consultation and giving employees the chance to have their say, are always important in relation to redundancy consultation. There is no immediate right to an appeal in a redundancy dismissal. However, employers should consider carefully whether, in the circumstances an appeal is needed.