Mogane v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) considered in this case whether it was fair to dismiss an employee as redundant on the basis that her fixed-term contract was due to expire before that of her colleague.
The Claimant was employed as a nurse by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, along with another nurse. Both nurses were employed at the same level and on a fixed term contract.
The Trust got into financial difficulties and were required to reduce their employees in order to reduce costs. The Claimant had been employed the longest but her contract expired soonest.
The Claimant was invited to a meeting prior to the expiry of her fixed term contract and was informed of the financial difficulties that the Trust were facing. A decision was also made to extend her contract in order to allow consideration of alternative employment.
Soon after this, the Trust decided that the sole criterion for selecting the redundancy pool was which employee’s fixed term contract expired the soonest. This meant that the Claimant was selected to be made redundant and this was not something that was discussed in the consultation process.
The Claimant claimed unfair dismissal against the Trust on the grounds that a fair redundancy consultation process had not taken place. The Employment Tribunal decided that it was reasonable to dismiss the Claimant, however she appealed this decision and the case subsequently went to the EAT. The EAT overturned this judgement and found that there was an unfair dismissal of the Claimant.
In their judgement, the EAT stated that it was unfair that no consultation took place prior to the selection of the redundancy pool and that the Claimant had been unfairly dismissed.
This case is a useful reminder that in the circumstance of redundancy, the employees should be consulted at a formative stage where they can still have an influence on the outcome in order for the process to be fair.