In the recent case of Readman v Devon Primary Care Trust  the Employment Appeals Tribunal overturned a decision made by the Employment Tribunal and concluded that an employee can reasonably refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment.
Mrs Readman, a nurse, was at risk of redundancy and was alternative posts by her Employer. These alternative posts included that of a hospital matron. However, since 1985 Mrs Readman had been a community nurse and had therefore not worked within a hospital setting for some years.
Mrs Readman turned down the post on the basis that she had no desire to return to working in a hospital environment. As a result of refusing the alternative employment Mrs Readman was not awarded a redundancy payment by her Employer.
The Employment Tribunal rejected Mrs Readman’s claim to a redundancy payment on the grounds that her refusal was unreasonable.
On Appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned the decision of the Tribunal on the basis that the question of reasonableness should not be considered as a wholly objective test.
The EAT ruled that when considering whether a refusal of suitable alternative employment was unreasonable the Tribunal should have considered whether the employee in question acted reasonably in turning down the offer of alternative employment.
The refusal of the offer must be for a reason that is a sound and justifiable.
The EAT allowed the appeal and Mrs Readman was entitled to receive a redundancy payment.
The redundancy process is a legal minefield and if not handled correctly can lead to valid Employment Tribunal Claims.
If you are considering undertaking a redundancy procedure or are facing redundancy and looking for initial advice then please contact Nick Attwell
at Attwells Solicitors LLP for an free consultation on 0207 722 9898
or email email@example.com