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.
This article summarises the main issues and outcomes in five tribunal cases where it was claimed that the employer failed to consult with trade union or employee representatives when it was proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant. Although the decisions are not binding on other tribunals, they provide useful illustrations of situations that have led to employers facing claims for failing to inform and consult on collective redundancies.
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