Employment Law: Unfair Dismissal During Covid-19 | June 2023

Employment Law: Unfair Dismissal During Covid-19 | June 2023

The following important case was heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal on 12th May 2023. This is an important precedent for employers to observe, particularly those who are facing unfair dismissal claims from employees who were made redundant during the pandemic without first considering the use of furlough under the CJRS. As the EAT upheld the original Tribunal’s decision, this will likely mean that such dismissals were unfair.

The claimant was a live-in carer and the person for whom she cared had golne into hospital. In the normal course of events, the claimant would have moved to care for another of the respondent's clients, however in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic there was limited scope for such movement.

The respondent did not have another client for the claimant to move to because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The respondent dismissed the claimant by reason of redundancy.

The employment tribunal held that her dismissal was unfair because the respondent did not consider the possibility of putting the claimant on furlough for a period while it ascertained whether the situation would improve and it would be able to place the claimant with another client; and also, because the appeal hearing was no more than a rubber-stamping exercise.

The respondent appealed against the finding of unfair dismissal. There was no error of law in the decision of the employment tribunal. Determining a claim of unfair dismissal in respect of a dismissal that occurred in circumstances related to the Coronavirus pandemic does not require any variation to the law of unfair dismissal, which is robust enough to deal with such exceptional circumstances.

The employment tribunal accepted that the claimant had been dismissed by reason of redundancy, however, the employment tribunal concluded that the dismissal was unfair: the whole purpose of the furlough scheme was to avoid laying off employees because of the effect of the Coivd-19 pandemic by providing significant government support to employers.

NB: This information is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law. However, if you have any HR issues on this or any other HR matters and would like to talk them through with our team, please contact us.

Share This Post

Posted In

cHRysos HR Solutions are a UK wide HR training and consultancy company offering CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on info@chrysos.org.uk or call 03300 562443.