The Court of Appeal has decided to seek clarification from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as to when the obligation to consult on collective redundancies arises where an employer proposes closing a workplace.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld a tribunal decision to reduce a protective award for the employer's failure to undertake collective redundancy consultation due to the union effectively condoning the failure.
In Shanahan Engineering v Unite the Union EAT/0411/09, the EAT held that an employment tribunal was right to find that, in relation to collective redundancy consultation, although a customer's instruction amounted to "special circumstances", absolving the employer of the need to start consultation 30 days in advance of the first redundancy, it did not absolve it of all obligations to consult. However, the tribunal should have taken into account the special circumstances of the case in setting the level of the protective award.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that, even where “special circumstances” existed in a collective redundancy situation, the employer was not totally relieved from its obligations to consult with the affected employees. However, the EAT allowed part of the appeal by remitting the matter of the protective award back to the tribunal.
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