Employee wasn't unfairly dismissed following ‘misunderstanding'
A woman has failed with a claim of constructive unfair dismissal after she resigned following a disagreement about the lawfulness of a redundancy selection process.
The woman worked as a human resources manager for a graphics company. She was ordered to complete a redundancy selection process by her superiors.
She believed that the members of staff to be made redundant had already been decided and that the procedure was unlawful. She refused to carry out the selection process and resigned from her post.
The woman then sued her former employees for constructive unfair dismissal. She claimed she had been forced out of her job by being put in an impossible position when asked to carry out the redundancy selection process.
The court heard that one senior manager had described the process as identifying the ‘scum that rose to the top’. The woman claimed that this suggested a bias, and that the employees to be made redundant had already been decided.
The graphics company argued that the comment was an off-the-cuff line, and although ill-advised, it was no indication that any decisions had already been made. It didn’t refer to any one individual.
They also pointed out that of the eleven people who were subject to the selection process, only five were actually made redundant.
There was nothing illegal about the method, and the woman had misunderstood what she was being asked to do.
The court ruled in favour of the company. The woman had not been asked to do anything illegal and so had no valid reason to resign. Therefore, her leaving the company could not be considered constructive unfair dismissal.
Please contact Jackie Cuneen if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law.