Mr David Darby was employed by Securiclear Aluminium Systems Ltd, a company that specialises in constructing glass and aluminium shop fronts. Mr Darby had worked for the firm for a number of years but went on sick leave for a period of time. During his period of sick leave the company determined that it needed to make redundancies and selected Mr Darby for redundancy, informing him of this whilst he was on sick leave. Mr Darby subsequently made an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, arguing that he had not been properly consulted with whilst he was off work sick, that the firm had failed to construct a proper “pool” of employees to be made redundant, that his scores should have been higher and that he had not been offered suitable alternative employment by the firm.
The case came to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal earlier this month. Giving evidence, Mr Darby complained that one employee not selected for redundancy was a 73-year-old pensioner who only had a short period of service with the firm. The claimant argued that this person should have been included in the pool and that if he had been included in the pool then this would have meant that the claimant would not have been made redundant. The company resisted the claim on the basis that there had been a downturn in business in Mr Darby’s section and that the company needed to cut costs.
Employment Judge Coaster, chairing the Employment Tribunal, ruled in Mr Darby’s favour in his claim for unfair dismissal and awarded him £4,492 in lost earnings. The Employment Judge criticized the firm, stating: “The firm failed to consult Mr Darby about his situation, did not mention redundancies to him and told him his job was being terminated while he was off sick.”