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Making a bank pay for a costly mistake in unfairly dismissing an employee

Published 01 September 2022

There are some dismissals that are so blatantly unfair it can defy belief – but it can still be a battle to get justice.

Chloe had worked for a bank for six years when she was dismissed by way of redundancy.

The employer claimed it had no other choice as Chloe’s role working with international clients was no longer needed. She was the only person being made redundant.

The news came as a shock to Chloe, as was the way in which she was informed.

Chloe was working from home one morning when she received an invite to a Zoom meeting with her manager and HR director. She was given just 30 minutes notice of the meeting.

At the meeting Chloe was told she was being made redundant and that if she accepted it, she would be paid an enhanced redundancy payment.

Stunned Chloe was informed if she rejected the offer she would be made redundant and receive statutory redundancy pay, which was about a third of what she was being offered.

Chloe’s objections and concerns were treated dismissively and brushed aside.

The HR director said she could tell Chloe was upset, so as a gesture of goodwill she could have the rest of the day off and provide an answer to the redundancy proposal the following morning.

The same day Chloe spoke to a former colleague made redundant following a collective consultation process at the start of the pandemic.

Her ex-workmate said the bank was ruthless in these situations and she should take the enhanced payment and leave.

That evening Chloe went online and did her own research about the redundancy process. She quickly established that how she was being treated was unjust and could amount to an unfair dismissal.

The following day, Chloe went against the advice from her former colleague and informed the HR director that she rejected the offer.

Chloe made it clear she felt she was being treated unreasonably and a fair redundancy process had not been followed. The HR director said she would look into it.

Later that morning Chloe was unable to access her emails. She contacted IT support who said she should speak to her manager.

When Chloe did so she was told she had been made redundant and a courier would call at her home address that afternoon to collect her laptop, work pass and any other work equipment.

Distraught Chloe received an email 10 minutes later confirming her redundancy. She was not given the right to appeal.

Distraught Chloe contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help,

Our representative emailed the employer to request Chloe be given the right to appeal. The bank initially refused to allow her to do so.

However, following a further exchange of email correspondence the employer eventually permitted Chloe to appeal.

Prior to the appeal hearing our representative requested a range of information from the employer, which included its redundancy policy.

At the appeal hearing the policy was used to highlight the company had not followed its own procedure, or any fair or recognised one for that matter, and that the process it claims to have conducted was grossly unfair.

Our representative presented a comprehensive appeal case to assert Chloe was treated unjustly and unfairly dismissed.

At the end of the appeal hearing the bank initiated an ‘off the record discussion’.

It resulted in Chloe being offered the enhanced redundancy payment as part of a settlement agreement.

It was pointed out that Chloe now had a strong claim for unfair dismissal, which needed to be considered in any settlement proposal.

Following further discussions and negotiations an additional five-figure sum was added to the offer. Chloe later accepted it.


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