It’s the stuff films are made about. You are a boss of a company, frustrated at your job, and want a swift exit. Therefore, you send a memo to all of your staff telling them they are fired so you can proceed to pastures new.

Except this is no film script. Instead, this is instead a real-life scenario that unfolded in relation to Nippy Bus, a company with 17 buses operating several public routes across Somerset and Dorset.

An article in the Metro newspaper in London on 1 November 2017 reported how Sydney Hardy, managing director of Nippy Bus, sent a memo to his 27 full and part time staff telling them that he could not work with them “a moment longer”. The ‘four-letter farewell memo’ to staff advised that they could all consider themselves dismissed and redundant. Albeit in slightly more colourful language.

Although amusing, to suddenly terminate any staff member’s employment in this fashion could give rise to a multitude of problems for a business, even if the company is being wound up. Leaving employees are entitled to claim for several losses including but not limited to:

  • Salary payments and benefits under their contract of employment
  • Notice period payments
  • Accrued holiday pay
  • Statutory redundancy payments
  • Enhanced redundancy payment due under employment contract
  • Interest

With a workforce of 27 staff, this could run tens of thousands of pounds depending on how long each employee has been working for Nippy Bus. Consideration should also be given to the fact that there may be a trade union behind the multiple employees with resources to provide them with legal advice and representation in a collective action.

If a business is to cease trading and the directors wish to exit, the risk of costly court action could be minimised by engaging in a reasonable redundancy consultation process.