24 October 2011 #Employment
King v Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) illustrated that finding a dismissal was genuinely based on the grounds of redundancy, does not remove the need to consider the remedies of reinstatement or re-engagement.
In this case, Ms King was dismissed as a consequence of redundancy. Incidentally, the dismissal was deemed to be automatically unfair as the employer failed to follow the statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedure (now repealed). However, there was actually a real redundancy situation, with no suitable alternative job. Therefore the dismissal was not found to be substantially unfair.
In the ET1 form, Ms King cited reinstatement as a preferred remedy and confirmed in her statement that she was seeking re-engagement. However, this was ignored by the tribunal, who chose to award compensation for financial loss only.
Ms King appealed the decision but re-employment was not raised as an issue in her Notice of Appeal (as she was not legally represented). Re-employment was only raised at a preliminary hearing by Counsel and permission to amend was granted. RBC applied to vary or discharge the proposed amended grounds.
In conclusion, the EAT ruled that the tribunal had made a ‘striking omission’ in failing to consider the remedies of reinstatement and re-engagement. They said it was right to grant permission to amend on the basis that ‘any prejudice to Ms King would far outweigh any prejudice that RBC would suffer’. In addition, it was confirmed that RBC were wrong to only focus on vacancies at the time of Ms King’s dismissal. The reason for this being that vacancies may easily have changed between the dismissal date and the hearing date.