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Unfair Dismissal: Redundancy or Restructuring?

In Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd v Monte-D’Cruz [2012] UKEAT/0039/11, the employment tribunal found Mr Monte-D’Cruz’ dismissal unfair and awarded him £64,722.

Mr D’Cruz’ job as ‘Head of OS Reseller’ was redundant in a restructuring to combine four senior roles into one ‘Head of Sales – Print’. He was interviewed for the new job but not appointed. He accepted that he was not the best candidate. He was then interviewed, in the second stage of the restructuring, for the new role of ‘Business Region Team Leader’. This job was similar to his old job. Again he was not appointed, as he scored on ten competencies below the required score of 75.

An outsider was appointed.

The employment tribunal thought the ten competencies were ‘subjective’; that Mr Monte-D’Cruz should have got the ‘Business Region Team Leader’ job; and so the dismissal was unfair.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed. Mr Justice Underhill observed that:

  • The ‘merits of the reorganisation as such were not a matter for consultation’
  • ‘Selection criteria’ is ‘not quite the right language’ when looking at the chance to apply for a different job. This was not a situation where one or more job-holders were being selected for redundancy.
  • There was no obligation to inform Mr D’Cruz in advance about such ‘selection criteria’
  • ‘Not all aspects of the performance or value of an employee lend themselves to objective measurement’
  • There ‘there is no obligation on an employer always to use criteria which are capable of such measurement, and certainly not in the context of an interview’
  • ‘The fairness of a decision to dismiss in cases of this kind cannot depend on whether the minutiae of good interview practice are observed’
  • ‘What assessment tools to use in an interview of this kind….is prima facie a matter for the discretion of the employer’
  • ‘Good faith assessments of an employee’s qualities are not normally liable to be second-guessed by an employment tribunal’

You may think this is all good common sense. If you are making redundancies, or you are unhappy about your job being made redundant, please contact me now.

Geoffrey Bignell, Chairman of Just Employment Solicitors

Geoffrey Bignell, Chairman, Just Employment Solicitors.

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