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A recent case Fulcrum Pharma (Europe) Ltd v Bonassera and another 2010) emphasises the need for giving an employee facing redundancy a full consultation to consider all eventualities.
In the particular case a manager’s post was chosen for redundancy. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that the employees were wrong in concluding that the pool of people who could potentially be made redundant was just the one post. There was a junior post which potentially both people would be qualified for. It is not the function of the person but the kind of work that needed to be considered as necessary for reduction. Effectively the EAT decided that the consultation process should be open to more of the potential for ‘bumping’ ie the more senior person taking over the role of the junior.
So faced with such a situation the employer must have meaningful consultation and it is incorrect to decide that a particular post should go without discussing alternatives with the individual affected. A situation of bumping must be discussed with the employee during consultations even where that bumping would lead to lower status/salary.