Disregard bumping, where’s the pool?

The emphasis of your article on the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in the case of Leventhal Ltd v North (Personnel Today, 1 February) appears to suggest that an employer must always consider ‘bumping’ for a redundancy to be fair. This interpretation of this case is not strictly correct as, I believe, the incorrect point is being emphasised.

The essential point in this case was that the selection of Mr North for redundancy was made without there being a selection ‘pool’. This is quite apparent from the tribunal’s finding of fact, and the EAT supports this by referring to the, as yet unreported, case of Dial-A-Phone v Butt where the selection of Mrs Butt for redundancy was not carried out after a proper and fair consideration or the ‘pool of employees’.

The EAT goes onto say that factors which ought to be considered are:

  • whether or not there is a vacancy
  • how different the two jobs are
  • the difference in remuneration 
  • relative length of service of the em-ployee
  • qualifications of the employee in danger of redundancy.

These are all matters which may have been considered by the employer had it established a pool for selection. The fact that it did not have one will, more often than not, create a greater risk of a redundancy dismissal being unfair. It is this point which I believe is the central issue and not the mere consideration of bumping per se.

Philip Broom, partner, Blake Lapthorn Linnell

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