When an employee’s role is declared redundant, it does not automatically follow that the employment relationship will be terminated…
There is a duty on every employer to consider whether it can offer a redundant employee alternative employment within their organisation (or perhaps even within another organisation which is part of the same group).
Where an employee is offered alternative employment but refuses it, the employee runs the risk of forfeiting their statutory redundancy payment. However, the employer can only withhold the redundancy payment if the position offered constitutes ‘suitable alternative employment’ and the employee unreasonably refuses the offer.
This case serves as a useful reminder to employers that just because the alternative employment they offer is suitable, that does not necessarily mean that the employee will be unreasonable in refusing it. Also, it seems clear that the reasonableness of the employee’s refusal is to be assessed subjectively, taking into account the employee’s own circumstances and perceptions.