Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

This case concerns the fairness of a redundancy process carried out by an employer, specifically related to the manner in which the procedure should be carried out.

The facts in Mitchells Of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd v Tattersall

The Claimant commenced employment with the Respondent (a brewer and the owner of hotels and public houses) as a property manager in May 1998. He had continuous employment in this capacity until 22 October 2010, when he was dismissed by reason of redundancy.

From May 1998 until 22 October 2010 the Claimant was part of the Senior Management Team at the Respondent. During 2010 the Respondent started to experience serious financial difficulties, particularly relating to its cash flow. The Senior Management Team had identified the need for cost savings and had already reduced the staff count at the Respondent.

On 15 June 2010 four of the Senior Management Team met to discuss the possibility of redundancies. The Claimant was not in attendance. At this meeting it was recommended that investigations be undertaken into the possibility of making members of the Senior Management Team redundant. On 6 July 2010 it was decided that the Claimant’s position would be made redundant because of his perceived lack of ability to bring revenue into the company.

The Claimant was in fact made redundant after going through a redundancy procedure which consisted of four individual redundancy consultation meetings. The Claimant was dismissed on 26 July 2010. He subsequently made a complaint of unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal.

The Employment Tribunal found in the Claimant’s favour and made a finding of unfair dismissal relating to the procedure of the redundancy. This was based upon four elements: the redundancy pool should have contained the five members of the Senior Management Team, instead of just the Claimant; the selection criteria were not objective enough; the Claimant wasn’t allowed to argue his case sufficiently; and personal antagonisms between the Claimant and another member of the Senior Management Team rendered the decision unfair. However, although the Employment Tribunal found the Respondent liable for unfair dismissal it reduced the Claimant’s compensation by 20% by way of a Polkey reduction.

The Respondent appealed against the finding of unfair dismissal and, in the alternative, appealed on the basis that the Polkey reduction should be increased to a figure higher than 20%.

The law relating to unfair dismissal, specifically that relating to the redundancy pool

Under s.94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 employees have a right not to be unfairly dismissed. In order to fairly dismiss employees a “potentially fair reason” must be advanced. This “potentially fair reason” must fall under the reasons specified in s.98(4) Employment Rights Act 1996, of which redundancy is one. The case for a redundancy should be made out (i.e. the business is closing or there’s a need to reduce the size of the workforce, among others). As with unfair dismissal generally, the dismissal of an employee must be substantively and procedurally fair for an unfair dismissal claim to be defeated.

To be substantively fair the dismissal for redundancy reasons must be within the reasonable range of responses in the circumstances. For the dismissal to fall within the reasonable range of responses the Respondent must conduct a thorough and impartial redundancy process, must have a reasonable belief in the need to dismiss the Claimant as a result of this redundancy process, and must have an honest belief in the need to make redundancies.

For the dismissal to be procedurally fair, the Respondent must (obviously) carry out a fair procedure. A fair consultation procedure should be carried out, a genuine redundancy situation must exist, and the employer must consult with the employee properly regarding alternative employment. For a fair consultation procedure to have taken place the Respondent must have, among other things, constructed a fair redundancy pool and used fair and objective selection criteria.

Whether a fair redundancy pool has been constructed will depend on the facts of the matter, particularly on a consideration of who has a comparable position to the Claimant.

Should the employer have established a substantively fair dismissal but accrued liability for unfair procedural dismissal then a Polkey reduction may be applied to the award of compensation.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Mitchells Of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd v Tattersall

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the fairness of the dismissal on one account – the failure to construct a fair redundancy pool. The evidence before the Employment Tribunal (the meeting on 15 June 2010) had suggested to it that the redundancy pool should comprise the five members of the Senior Management Team, not just the Claimant. The failure to consider the other four members of the Senior Management Team for redundancy rendered the procedure unfair.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the Respondent’s appeal against the value of the Polkey reduction. The matter was remitted to the Employment Tribunal for a finding on compensation, with a direction to the Employment Tribunal that the 20% reduction should be increased.

Our specialist employment lawyers’ thoughts on Mitchells Of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd v Tattersall

This case was won at first instance and appeal by the Claimant on the strength of the fact that he had access to documentary evidence that the redundancy pool should have been widened. Apart from that, the redundancy procedure, according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, was fair. Employees should be aware that employers have considerable discretion in whether to make redundancies and as to who should be made redundant. Unless there is a clear element of unfairness (such as a failure to carry out a procedure at all) then the fairness of a dismissal is a matter of degree and hinges upon the evidence that the Claimant can obtain. In most circumstances the Respondent possessed the necessary evidence related to the redundancy procedure and it can be difficult to obtain this.

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.62 Average

26 Reviews


Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 1 hour ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 1 day ago


I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 2 weeks ago


Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 3 weeks ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 4 months ago


Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 4 months ago


Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 4 months ago


At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 4 months ago


Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 5 months ago


Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 5 months ago


Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 5 months ago


Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 5 months ago


Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 5 months ago


Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 5 months ago


Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 5 months ago


Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 5 months ago


Resolved my issues

Posted 5 months ago


Quick fast professional service.

Posted 5 months ago


"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 5 months ago


Patient and thorough advice given to me around my Settlement Agreement

Posted 5 months ago


"Excellent service, getting back to you promptly giving you very good advice."

Posted 5 months ago