The EAT in Fulcrum Pharma (Europe) Ltd v Bonassera and another considered whether an employee had been unfairly dismissed for redundancy where bumping was not considered as an option.

Ms Bonassera was a Human Resources Manager supported by C, a Human Resources Executive. Fulcrum Pharma decided to make cuts and to reduce the HR function to one role, namely C’s job, and that Ms Bonassera’s post would therefore become redundant. No alternative employment was available to be offered to Ms Bonassera and she was made redundant. She brought a claim for unfair dismissal claiming that C should also have been considered in the pool for redundancy as many of their functions were interchangeable. A tribunal agreed and found that although consultation had taken place as to the method of achieving the redundancy, the selection process was fundamentally flawed. The EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision, finding that Fulcrum Pharma had been wrong to conclude that the pool was one person because it was the manager’s role that had to go. The issue of pooling had not been discussed with Ms Bonassera.  

The case makes clear the importance of discussing with potentially redundant employees whether they would consider taking a lower post and, more generally, the issue of pooling. The failure to properly consult over these issues with Ms Bonassera resulted in an unfair dismissal finding against the employer.