Stevenson v Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust [2021] UKEAT 000834_19_1407

Appeal by three HR managers against a decision that they had unreasonably refused an offer of suitable alternative employment following a restructuring and were therefore not entitled to redundancy payments.

Each of the Claimants was employed as a Head of Human Resources. Following a restructure, their roles were made redundant. They were offered alternative employment in the role of Senior HR Lead but declined. The Respondent decided that they had unreasonably refused offers of suitable alternative employment and that they would not be entitled to redundancy payments. The Employment Tribunal upheld that decision and dismissed their application for redundancy payments.

Bourne J allowed the appeal as the Tribunal had erred by not deciding the practical effect of certain differences between the Claimants’ old roles and the allegedly suitable alternative roles i.e. what difference it made that they would perform some functions only as “allocated” or “directed” when previously they had autonomy over them, what was the significance of certain duties which were part of the old roles but not of the alternative roles and what practical difference would be made by working for a Group of 3 NHS Trusts rather than, as previously, for the Respondent only. The questions of the suitability of the alternative employment and the reasonableness of the refusal were remitted to the same Tribunal.

Published: 06/08/2021 10:30

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