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Douglas v Millbrook Country Club Ltd

Published 01 Jan 2011

In November 2008, the Applicant's employment was terminated purportedly for redundancy. The Applicant alleged that her dismissal was unjustified because the Respondent predetermined her dismissal rather than properly consulting with her about a proposed restructuring; that it acted in a deceptive manner by dismissing her for reasons other than for those stated; and that it failed to consider and offer her any alternative position or the usual redundancy support. These allegations are all denied by the Respondent which says that it terminated the Applicant's employment genuinely for redundancy after properly consulting with her about the redundancy situation.

The Authority found that one aspect of the dismissal where the Respondent fell below the standard of a fair and reasonable employer in a redundancy situation, especially given the Applicant's long service. The Respondent should have offered her a reference, support with searching for alternative employment and constructing a CV and access to counseling or similar support to help with losing her job. This support has been well recognised in the law as a reasonable obligation on a relatively well resourced employer.

The Authority found that the employer's failure to attend to any of this gives rise to a personal grievance which could be categorised as either unjustified dismissal or unjustified action causing disadvantage.

The Authority accepted that she was somewhat upset by the lack of support shown to her when her employment was terminated. The distress properly attributable to the proven grievance calls for a modest award of compensation which the Authority fixed at $2,000.00.

The Applicant had a personal grievance arising from her employer's failure to provide appropriate support when dismissing her for redundancy.

The reference mentioned above was held to be a record of service. EAL's comment is that the expectation to provide out placement services and other assistance is dependent on what is reasonably practicable, given the circumstances and the size of the business.

It is imperative that you follow the correct process when dealing with redundancy situations. If you have any doubts, please seek advice from the EAL Employment Hotline on 0800 15 8000.

If you require further information, please refer to the "System of Redundancy", which is available for purchase from
Please note that this is available free to Employer Support Package members, where it is available in the library section of the employer's toolbox.