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Redundancies – Transferred Redundancies AKA ‘Bumping’

Yesterday I was advising on a redundancy situation and the question of bumping cropped up. Bumping (or more correctly a transferred redundancy) arises where an employee whose job is not redundant is dismissed to make way for an employee whose role has become redundant.

This often happens when a more senior role is to go, leaving junior roles untouched. There is no absolute obligation on an employer to consider bumping in all cases, but a failure to do so may make a dismissal unfair. In Lionel Leventhal v North [2004], a senior editor was selected for redundancy because he was the most expensive employee.

The employer consulted with him but did not consider bumping. He complained that the dismissal was therefore unfair. The EAT agreed. It concluded that the employer should have considered making a junior employee redundant and offering that job to the senior editor.

The company should not have assumed that Mr North would reject a drop in salary. The question of whether it’s unfair to dismiss an employee by reason of redundancy without considering bumping is a matter to determine on the particular facts. In deciding whether to factor in bumping in a redundancy situation, you 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.

In the case I was working on, an employee with a management raised the question of being considered in a more junior role in an office in another town. If she wishes to do so, we will put all the relevant admin people in a redundancy at risk pool, create a selection matrix and score in the usual way.

If the at risk employee is successful, she will be appointed in that more junior role at the rate for the job and the employee with the lowest score will be dismissed for redundancy. If you need help with restructuring, reorganisation or redundancy get in touch on 0845 644 8955 or email pm@russellhrconsulting.co.uk. For information on avoiding the horrors of employment tribunal find out about our The Hedge Fund.

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