In White v HC-One Oval Ltd  EAT 56, the EAT has held that an Employment Tribunal made an error in striking out Ms White’s claim for unfair dismissal simply because she had requested voluntary redundancy.
In September 2018 Ms White (a part-time receptionist) was provisionally selected for redundancy by her employer, HC-One Oval Ltd (a care home operator). She subsequently requested voluntary redundancy which was accepted. After Ms White’s employment terminated she brought an unfair dismissal claim alleging that she had only requested voluntary redundancy in the context of unfair circumstances. The Employment Tribunal struck out her claim as the fact that she had made a voluntary redundancy request meant that the employer could establish the reason for, and the reasonableness, of the dismissal.
The EAT overturned the decision, holding that claims should not be struck out where the central facts are in dispute. The Employment Tribunal had failed to consider Ms White’s allegation that the redundancy situation had been manufactured. Furthermore, even if the Employment Tribunal was satisfied with the reason for dismissal, it would still need to consider the fairness of the process. The case has been remitted to an Employment Tribunal for further consideration.
This is a useful reminder to employers that a voluntary redundancy is still a dismissal, and an employer could potentially be liable for unfair dismissal even if the employee has requested voluntary redundancy.
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