Teachers’ redundancy dismissal without appeal ruled unfairOctober 14th 2021
Two teachers have won their claim of unfair dismissal after they were denied the right of appeal against being made redundant.
Joanne Stronach Head of Employment and HR reports on this recent case.
The teachers had been employed by the local authority to work at a community secondary school (School 1).
Due to a reorganisation of education provision, the local authority decided to close School 1 and replace it with a new community school (School 2) from September 2017 at the same location.
A temporary governing body for School 2 was established to determine the staffing structure at the new school and appoint its teachers.
The local authority informed affected staff at School 1 that all existing employment contracts would be terminated on 31 August 2017, that the staffing of School 2 would be determined by an application/interview process and that unsuccessful candidates would be made redundant unless suitable alternative employment was found for them within the local authority.
The two teachers in this case unsuccessfully applied for positions at School 2 and were made redundant.
They brought claims of unfair dismissal on the basis that they had not been given an opportunity to make representations or to appeal to the governing body of School 1 prior to their dismissals.
The Employment Tribunal found that the dismissals were unfair because of the failure to provide the teachers with a right of appeal, the absence of consultation and the way they had to apply for the jobs.
The Court of Appeal has upheld those findings.
It held that in redundancy cases, the absence of any appeal or review procedure did not of itself make the dismissal unfair. If the original selection for redundancy was in accordance with a fair procedure, the absence of an appeal was not fatal to the employer’s defence.
In this case, however, the tribunal’s conclusions on the overall fairness of the dismissals could not be faulted. It had applied a test of fairness and considered whether the employer’s approach fell within the band of reasonable responses.
Furthermore, it had been concerned not just with the absence of an appeal but that the local authority had ignored the established method of dealing with redundancies, namely to consult any affected employees and to minimise redundancy by redeployment in other schools within the area.
For more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law please contact Joanne on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email