In a recent case of dismissal by reason of redundancy, the claimants were not allowed to appeal against their dismissal due to redundancy, so they each brought claims of unfair dismissal. The employment tribunal upheld the unfair dismissal claims but the employer appealed on numerous grounds, one of which was that the tribunal were incorrect in stating there must be “truly exceptional circumstances” to refuse an employee’s right of appeal.
The employer’s appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, who held that refusing an employee’s right of appeal does not make the redundancy dismissal unfair, but will be considered in deciding the overall fairness of the dismissal. The Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal’s test of “truly exceptional circumstances” to determine whether the employer’s approach was within the band of reasonable responses. Using the test and on the facts, it was held that no reasonable employer would have denied the employees their clear right of appeal or to even raise a grievance. Therefore, the redundancy dismissal was unfair as a whole.
If the employer’s original selection for redundancy complied with an overall fair procedure, the lack of an appeal would not have been fatal to the employer’s defence.