George Dolby, a former business manager at Stuart Plant Ltd, was made redundant moments after he was asked what he thought of his company car. Upon meeting his managing director, Stuart Sayer, for what was described as a ‘catch up’ at a Holiday Inn, Mr Dolby was walking through a car park when Mr Sayer told him that he was being made redundant.
After being told about the redundancy out of the blue, Mr Dolby later received a letter stating that he was being made redundant and that he would receive £8,000 severance pay. It also stated that his company car would be collected in a week’s time.
This then prompted Mr Dolby to send two letters to his boss. One letter requested the £15,000 bonus that he had received the previous two years and another letter challenging the legalities of the decision to make him redundant. He did not receive any reply to either of these letters. Mr Sayer told the Employment Tribunal that he tried to offer Mr Dolby a vacant account manager position, but Mr Dolby denied that he was ever offered this role.
Mr Dolby, who was 71 at the time, worked briefly at M&S before going on to be a fruit packer at World Wide Fruit and he had to sell his family home as a result of the redundancy. Mr Dolby is now retired.
The Judge ruled that the brief conversation in which Mr Sayer told Mr Dolby that he was being made redundant was not a meeting and the dismissal was plainly unfair. The way in which Mr Dolby’s employment was terminated was deemed to be in a ‘brutal manner’ and he was awarded £42,000 as compensation for unfair dismissal.
What employees can learn from this case
Many employees do not realise that fairness is a key component in an employee being dismissed properly and there are several rules that an employer must adhere to. It is essential that an employer has a fair reason for the dismissal, that the proper dismissal procedures are followed and the dismissal was fair in all circumstances. When this is not the case, an employee may be able to claim unfair dismissal.
Even in the case of redundancy, the dismissal still needs to be fair and the employer must follow the proper redundancy procedures, choose employees for redundancy in a fair and objective way, and properly warn and consult about the redundancy. The case above was a clear example of how redundancy can be unfair and due to the fact that there was no warning or consultation, the proper redundancy procedures simply were not followed.
It is important that employees are aware of what is required of their employers in order for any type of dismissal to be fair and this will enable them to seek legal advice and make an unfair dismissal claim if they have not been dismissed properly. Being able to claim compensation on the grounds of unfair dismissal can be incredibly beneficial for employees at this financially difficult time, so it is always undeniably worthwhile checking that a dismissal was fair.
Unlike other areas of employment law that can be really complex, when it comes to dismissals, the law is fairly straightforward. However, if you are ever unsure about the way that a dismissal was handled, even if this was a redundancy, you should speak to an employment law specialist who will be able to advise you further as to whether your dismissal is ‘fair’ in the eyes of the law.
Getting tailored unfair dismissal legal advice
Should you have any questions about unfair dismissal, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Nationwide Employment Lawyers. Our experienced team will gladly provide you with any additional information that you may require in this regard. If you have just been dismissed, they can also provide you with tailored employment law advice as well. Following this unfair dismissal legal advice, if you would like to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, we can support you from start to finish with doing so.
Our talented employment law specialists have a superb record in representing our clients and you will be in the best hands when you enlist their help. We pride ourselves on fighting hard for our clients and getting them the results they deserve, so if your dismissal was automatically unfair, we will do all we can to get you reasonable compensation. We provide an extremely high standard of service and we can assure you that you will not be disappointed when you turn to us for unfair dismissal legal advice.