It can be hard to distinguish an unfair dismissal from a genuine redundancy process. As was shown by the case of a property manager who found himself on the receiving end of his boss’s unjustified pique, however, Employment Tribunals (ETs) tend to know a sham when they see one.
The founder of the business for which the man worked had taken strongly against him. During a recorded meeting, she made a number of offensive remarks about him in his absence. After he launched proceedings, an ET found that it was at that point that she irrevocably decided that his employment would be terminated. A redundancy exercise ensued, culminating in his dismissal.
The decision to dispense with his services having already been reached, the ET found that the redundancy process was a sham. Steps had been taken to redistribute his work to other employees and so-called consultation meetings were little more than going through the motions.
There was no evidence that the founder’s serious criticisms of him were justified and the ET found that his inevitable dismissal was capricious, borne of pique and the founder’s unwarranted personal dislike of him. A deliberate attempt was made after the event to justify his dismissal on capability grounds.
In also upholding his race discrimination claim, the ET found that the employer had failed to show that the founder’s hostility towards him and her decision to dismiss him were in no sense caused by her view that people of his racial background were not to be trusted.
His racial harassment complaint further succeeded on the basis that her derogatory comments about him were all linked to a negative view of his race once things went wrong in the employment relationship. If not agreed, the amount of his compensation would be assessed at a further hearing.