There might be occasions where an employer has to make redundancies when it is required to contemplate providing a potentially redundant employee an alternative function already held by a second person, and generating the second person redundant instead. This is identified as bumping. A failure to think about bumping may possibly make the dismissal unfair.
Ms Bonassera was the HR Manager for Fulcrum Pharma (Europe) Ltd. The HR function also had a more junior role, an HR Executive, which reported to Ms Bonassera. The organization had to make a number of redundancies and proposed to get rid of the HR Manager’s role altogether, keeping the HR Executive position. Ms Bonassera was in a pool of 1 as she was the only HR Manager.
During the consultation period Ms Bonassera put forward a number of alternatives to redundancy. 1 of these was the HR Executive should be made redundant. Ms Bonassera suggested that she could have higher expertise and had performed both roles in the course of her time with the firm. She did not propose a salary cut, but stated she might function four days a week on a pro rated salary.
The proposals had been deemed but in the end they had been rejected and Ms Bonassera job was produced redundant. She claimed that the failure to contemplate bumping made the dismissal unfair.
In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the court agreed. Even though employers do have a good deal of flexibility in establishing a choice pool, in this case the employer had been wrong to limit it to one on the basis that the post to go would be that of the HR Manager. While the employer had regarded as the concern of pooling it had not discussed it with Ms Bonassera as part of the consultation method. So far as the requirement to think about bumping went, there is no require for an employee to tell the employer that he is willing to consider a much more junior function or pay cut before the employer is obliged to consider it.
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