In a recent case of Love v M B Farm Produce Ltd ET/2304946/2022, the Employment Tribunal held that an employee’s entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment cannot be restored where they change their mind after unreasonably refusing to accept an offer of alternative employment.
Mrs Love was put at risk of redundancy by her employer, M B Farm Produce Ltd following a decision to close a farm shop where she worked.
An alternative role was offered to Mrs Love for her to work at another farm shop which was subject to a trial period. To allay Mrs Love’s concern about driving to an unfamiliar place, her employer offered to pay her reasonable fuel and mileage expenses and clarified that she would not be expected to drive in bad weather conditions if it posed a risk. However, due to her lack of confidence in driving, Mrs Love refused the offer.
Mrs Love’s employer confirmed that she would not receive a statutory redundancy payment due to her unreasonable refusal to the accept the suitable offer. Mrs Love then expressed an interest in starting the trial period for the role that she had refused but her employer confirmed she was being made redundant and that she was not entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.
The claim and outcome
Mrs Love sought a claim in the Employment Tribunal for a statutory redundancy payment.
The Employment Tribunal confirmed that the alternative role offered to Mrs Love was suitable and her refusal to accept the offer was unreasonable. The Employment Tribunal noted that there was no provision in the Employment Rights Act 1996 which covered the position where an employee changes their mind. So, applying the words of the legislation, the Employment Tribunal confirmed that the entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment is lost if a suitable alternative role is offered and is unreasonably refused by the employee.
If you have any questions on this article, would like to know more about employee rights during a redundancy process, or your business is currently undergoing a redundancy process and is in need of some support, please feel free to get in touch.
You can access the full judgment here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/64f6dee5fdc5d10014fce613/Mrs_D_Love_v_M.B.Farm_Produce_Limited_2304946-2022_Judgment_03-08-2023.pdf