In Spaceright Europe Ltd v Baillavoine, the company went into administration and the Chief Executive was dismissed on the same day. One month later the business was sold as a going concern. The tribunal found that the sole or principal reason for the dismissal was connected with the transfer of the business and the CEO had been automatically unfairly dismissed. The EAT agreed.
There have been cases in the past saying that the transferee must be identified at the time of dismissal in order for the dismissal to receive TUPE protection but these decisions have been discredited recently and Spaceright Europe Ltd v Baillavoine confirms this trend.
The EAT also held that the tribunal had been entitled to find that there was no "economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce" for the dismissal, which would have prevented it from being automatically unfair. The business was always going to need a managing director and it was anticipated that the CEO would be replaced, as he indeed was.