Failure to take legal advice leads to maximum protective award being made
1 October 2015
The EAT recently upheld a Tribunal’s decision to make the maximum protective award of 90 days actual pay in a redundancy situation where no collective consultation had taken place as the employer was unaware of its legal obligations (E Ivor Hughes Educational Foundation v Morris & Others).
The case concerned the closure of an independent school due to dwindling pupil numbers. The governors made the decision to close the school, and gave notice to all the teachers, but were apparently unaware of their obligations to consult collectively over the redundancies as they took no legal advice. The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s decision to make the maximum award possible, even though the error was not deliberate, but arose from what the EAT described as a “reckless failure” to take legal advice.
This is a reminder that Tribunals are not sympathetic to an employer’s ignorance of the law and, in this case, it awarded the same compensation as it would have had the omission been deliberate.
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