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Redundancy bumping is where one employee who is potentially at risk of redundancy (A) is moved into another role currently being carried out by someone else (B) resulting in employee B being made redundant instead of employee A.
For example, if employee A was being considered for redundancy and employee B was in a lower or horizontal position, it would be considered redundancy bumping if employee A was offered employee B's role and employee B was made redundant instead.
This is not a common practice and is fully legal as long as all the other fair and clear redundancy procedures have been followed. When an employer is looking to make redundancies, they may have to consider redundancy bumping as an option during a fair process. However, they are not obliged to commit to redundancy bumping.
In case law, there have been a handful of cases, including the much-cited Mirab v Mentor Graphics UK (2018) case, where employees who were made redundant won their unfair dismissal cases as their employer did not consider redundancy bumping as part of the suitable alternative employment procedure. In other cases, such as Samels v University of Creative Arts case, the courts have commented that redundancy bumping can have a damaging effect on employee relations.
When deciding on whether bumping should be part of the redundancy process, the employer should consider:
- Whether there is a vacancy
- How different the two jobs are
- The difference in remuneration between the two jobs
- The two employees’ relative length of service
- The qualifications of the employee in danger of redundancy
Generally, redundancy bumping, including whether it should be considered and is appropriate for the circumstances, should be taken on a case by case basis and may ultimately be for a tribunal to decide.