Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Supreme Court Guidance on Redundancy and limited term contracts

University and College Union (Appellant) v The University of Stirling (Respondent) (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 26

An employer which proposes to “dismiss as redundant” 20 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less has an obligation to consult the appropriate representatives, usually a recognised trade union, of any of the employees who may be affected: section 188(1), Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”). The question in this case is whether those employees include people employed on limited term contracts (“LTCs”) whose contracts will come to an end without renewal during the relevant period. This in turn depends upon two questions. The first is whether the expiry and non-renewal of an LTC amount to a dismissal for this purpose: it does (see para 15 below). The second is whether such a dismissal is “for a reason not related to the individual concerned”, which is the statutory definition of a dismissal “as redundant” in this context: section 195(1), 1992 Act.

The Supreme Court held that dismissal because of expiry of a limited term contract was a reason not related to the individual.  Even though the individual had agreed to the expiry date.

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