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In the case of Mrs C Degnan v BP Services International Limited 3302969/2015 the Employment Tribunal (the “ET”) held that the employer had not withheld payment of enhanced redundancy pay (to be paid via a settlement agreement) because the employee had threatened to bring an Employment Tribunal claim.

The facts in Mrs C Degnan v BP Services International Limited

Mrs Degnan commenced employment with BPO Services International Limited (“BP”) in May 2007 under a ‘global employment contract’; her first assignment was to Azerbaijan in 2007.

In October 2009 Mrs Degnan became pregnant; she took 12 months’ maternity leave and then became pregnant again in 2010. She took a further 12 months’ maternity leave and was absent from work until April 2012.

On 10 April 2012 Mrs Degnan was assigned to the BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd, based in Sunbury, UK. The assignment was for a period of three years and was due to expire on 9 April 2015.

Mrs Degnan took a third period of maternity leave in May 2013, returning to work on 22 September 2014. Prior to returning to work Mrs Degnan asked to work part-time hours.

In early 2015 BP carried out a review of its workforce and came to the conclusion that 10-20% of roles should be removed. A redundancy process commenced in January 2015 and on 19 January 2015 Mrs Degnan was informed that her role was at risk of redundancy. Leigh-Ann Russell chaired the redundancy process, scoring Mrs Degnan 9 out of a total of 15 points.

On 23 March 2015 Mrs Degnan was informed that she had not been placed in a new role and was still at risk of redundancy. In June 2015 Mrs Degnan was offered a new role in the Backbone Work Management Process and Technical Specialist Organisational Learning role team. Mrs Degnan rejected this role as she did not believe it was suitable for her. She was subsequently informed that “[BP] do not pay redundancy in relation to people who refuse job.” Following BP’s policies, Mrs Degnan was subsequently dismissed without a redundancy payment on 20 July 2015.

Mrs Degnan subsequently made Employment Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal, and pregnancy-related detriment.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal rejected Mrs Degnan’s claims for the following reasons:

  • The dismissal was not unfair, either substantively or procedurally – her dismissal was for the reason of redundancy, a fair procedure was carried out, and efforts were made to find Mrs Degnan suitable alternative employment after her position was made redundant
  • Mrs Degnan’s dismissal was not related to the taking of her periods of maternity leave – the scoring was not discriminatory and Mrs Degnan was given every opportunity to succeed in her role
  • The decision to withdraw a settlement agreement, and withhold redundancy pay, was not related to claims for pregnancy and maternity discrimination that Mrs Degnan had threatened, but was following a well-established policy on the part of BP – the Employment Tribunal therefore rejected the claim for victimisation

Our solicitors’ views on the case of
Mrs C Degnan v BP Services International Limited

Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “This case shows that it may be difficult for employees to succeed in arguing that their dismissal was discriminatory when the employing organisation is following established rules and policies.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal inMrs C Degnan v BP Services International Limited 3302969/2015 can be found here

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

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Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

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Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

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Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

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Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

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Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

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My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

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Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

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Experienced and competent advisors

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Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

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I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

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Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good service

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Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 1 month ago

Mike H

Very professional, friendly, proactive. I would highly recommend Redmans.

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Anonymous

Fantastic and quick service!

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Anonymous

I was very satisfied with Redmans' service. Clear, sensible advice and the bill was in line with their estimate. I would recommend them.

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Eugene A

Excellent communication and guidance provided on the redundancy settlement process. Process was concluded quickly, very satisfied with service.

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Great personlised service and quick communication. Solicitor helps greatly in understanding the options and advising best course of action.

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