Unite Legal Services successfully wins ‘first of its kind’ employment tribunal claim for member

Unite Legal Services supported a Unite member to successfully bring a claim for contractual redundancy pay and statutory redundancy pay at an employment tribunal.

The NHS Trust employee from North West England turned to Unite Legal Services after the Trust refused to pay the member their redundancy pay because, it said, the member had rejected its offer of alternative employment.

Our member brought two employment tribunal claims because her entitlement to contractual redundancy pay, under Agenda for Change, was greater than the maximum amount the employment tribunal could award if the claim was successful, that being £25,000. The claim for statutory redundancy pay would increase the maximum compensation the Tribunal could have awarded, if it succeeded.

Although the employment tribunal found that the Unite member was entitled to contractual redundancy pay and awarded her £25,000, it determined that the statutory redundancy payment was “subsumed” into her contractual entitlement and, therefore, rejected the second claim.

As the NHS Trust employee was a Unite member, she had access to free legal cover and support from Unite Legal Services’ solicitors, who were able to submit an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on her behalf.

With the backing of Unite Legal Services, the member argued in the appeal that the tribunal was wrong to determine that statutory redundancy pay was included into the contractual redundancy pay, as under Agenda for Change, it was an enhancement of her statutory entitlement. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed and our member was awarded her statutory redundancy pay entitlement in addition to the £25,000.

Unite the Union’s North West regional legal manager, Michael Tighe, said: “This decision is the first of its kind. Thanks to the work of Unite Legal Services, this outcome means that anybody bringing employment tribunal claims for contractual redundancy pay can seek entitlement to their statutory redundancy pay in addition to the £25,000 cap that applies in the employment tribunal.

“While the case was initially won at the employment tribunal, Unite instructed our solicitors to take it further to the Employment Appeal Tribunal as we believed the initial judgment did not fully compensate our member.

“The appeal’s tribunal agreed and the case goes to show Unite Legal Services’ commitment to ensuring that our members get what they deserve.”