07 March 2012 #Employment
A debate has arisen as to under what circumstances an employment tribunal should interfere with the pool for selection chosen by an employer.
The EAT confirmed the answer was “rarely” in the case of Halpin v Sandpiper Books. In this case Sandpiper Brooks employed Mr Halpin in its London office as an Administrator/Analyst. They then moved Mr Halpin to work in a sales role in China. After some time the Company decided to outsource the sales work and Mr Halpin was put at risk of redundancy. The Company consulted him and he was offered (but refused) alternative employment back in the UK.
Mr Halpin was dismissed by reason of redundancy and subsequently, he brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The tribunal dismissed his claim stating that he had been fairly selected for redundancy, even though he had been in a pool of one. This was because he had a unique position dealing solely with sales and was based in China.
This decision was upheld by the EAT. They said that the decision was available to the Respondent to pool a pool of simply one employee, and commented that such a decision cannot easily be overturned. They added that "selection only operates, when fairness is concerned, where there are a number of similarly qualified possible targets for redundancy. In this case it was clear there were no other "similarly qualified possible targets".
The decision as to the pool is one for management (Fulcrum Pharma v Bonassera). In the circumstances the decision was one that was reasonably open to the Employer.