Mr Trevor Jones, 50, and another employee worked for a construction company (Beam Construction) in Cheltenham until they were told that they were to be made redundant in 2011. No consultation was carried out by the construction firm and the two workers were simply called into a meeting and told that they were going to be made redundant.
Mr Jones, who had worked for the company as an employee for four years prior to his redundancy – and many more years as a sub-contractor – told the media that he was “devastated” when he was called into head office and told he was to be made redundant. He said that he knew “deep down” that the redundancy procedure hadn’t been carried out properly and that he wanted to do something about it. He therefore pursued an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal against his employer, along with the other (unnamed) employee.
The Employment Tribunal held that the two men had been subjected to an unfair redundancy dismissal – principally due to a failure to carry out a fair redundancy procedure. The Employment Tribunal found that there had been no consultation and no fair and objective scoring procedure for the two men, nor any attempt to offer suitable alternative vacancies. The Tribunal awarded Mr Jones £9,697 in compensation and the other employee almost £18,000.
Mr Jones said after the Employment Tribunal that he was “very pleased” with the decision and that he felt that justice had been done.
A spokesman for Beam Construction, the managing director Steve Ratcliffe, claimed that the Tribunal had been won on a “technicality” and that the company had tried to “do the right thing by both men”. He said that the redundancies had been a reaction to a drop in construction work in the UK by 30% and that the business environment was tough. He also took a shot at employment legislation, stating that he felt that legislation was slanted too much against employers when “all they were trying to do was scale down staff to respond to the economic climate”.
Specialist employment lawyer Chris Hadrill commented that: “This case doesn’t appear to have been won on a mere technicality – as far as I can see. If it had simply been a matter of procedural unfairness (the failure to carry out the procedure) then the awards would have been substantially reduced through what’s called a “Polkey reduction”. That doesn’t appear to have been the case here”