Guernsey: Redundancy - Is A Consultation Process Really Necessary?

Last Updated: 4 June 2013
Article by Emma Parr

With the number of redundancies on the increase, this is a question frequently being asked by Guernsey employers. The answer is always the same. Based on past Tribunal decisions and the Commerce & Employment Code of Practice, the answer has to be a resounding "yes".

Employers need to appreciate the importance of a consultation process in any redundancy situation (however large or small the organisation). In fact, the Tribunal just recently reaffirmed its importance in the recent case of Guernsey Gas Limited.

Following its decision to undergo a restructuring programme driven primarily by the need to reduce overheads, Guernsey Gas embarked on a consultation process which it claimed was "clear, fair and best practice procedure". Mr T, who was selected for redundancy, disagreed, claiming that the procedure was flawed, and brought an action before Guernsey's Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

In January 2012, Guernsey Gas informed all staff in a group wide communication of its proposals to restructure the organisation, and the reasons behind its decision. Subsequent one to one meetings were then scheduled with staff to provide a more detailed understanding of the proposals. During his one to one, Mr T was informed by senior management that two potential opportunities may become available under the revised structure which Guernsey Gas believed may be suitable for him. Mr T offered no response.

One month later, Guernsey Gas held its first all staff meeting in which senior management gave a formal presentation explaining the proposals, the rationale for the changes and the potential for redundancies. Mr T did not attend this meeting due to annual leave but was given a copy of the presentation upon his return.

A second all staff meeting was convened shortly thereafter. This allowed Guernsey Gas to respond to those issues raised by its staff in the one to ones. Mr T attended this meeting during which he was presented with "Notification of Potential Redundancy" (the "at risk" letter). This letter informed Mr T that he was facing redundancy but advised that he was also in a selection pool for two alternative roles. Mr T simply responded to senior management asking not to be considered for any alternative role. No reasons for his decision were given.

Two weeks later, Mr T attended a formal consultation meeting with an independent HR consultant (appointed by Guernsey Gas) and confirmed his decision not to be considered for any role going forward. Over the following six weeks all affected staff were invited to communicate with senior management or HR in the event they had any further issues. Mr T did not accept this invitation and did not raise any issues.

Therefore, on 17 July 2012 (five months since the initial process began), Mr T was handed a "Termination of Employment" letter confirming that he had been selected for redundancy and offered the right of appeal against the decision which he chose not to exercise. Instead, Mr T wrote to senior management indicating his intention to register a claim for unfair dismissal.

At the hearing Mr T's allegations were threefold:

i) the process was flawed as it was not conducted under the correct redundancy policy. In particular, he claimed that Guernsey Gas should have adopted a redundancy policy applicable to its parent company and if the correct policy had been applied, he would have been offered one to one meetings with the CEO of the parent company;

ii) once notified of being "at risk" he was given insufficient time in which to respond to his inclusion in the pool for selection; and

iii) he was not given sufficient time to raise queries about the alternative roles. Unsurprisingly, the Tribunal rejected his claims outright and decided that Mr T had not been unfairly dismissed. It found no evidence to support the allegations.

To the contrary, witness evidence confirmed that staff did not consider themselves to be employees of the parent company so could not comprehend why Mr T felt the parent company policy should apply. In any event, there was no guarantee that Mr T would in fact have attended any meeting with the CEO given his apparent lack of willingness to attend any meetings with Guernsey Gas.

Further, Mr T had been given ample time to consider his inclusion in the pool for redundancy selection. The proposals had been underway since January 2012 and Mr T had known that changes were afoot for a considerable number of weeks before any final decision was made; during that time he had failed to ask any questions, or engage in any meaningful consultation with Guernsey Gas.

The Tribunal, clearly puzzled by his actions, including his refusal to be considered for any alternative roles, had little sympathy for Mr T's plight and failed to see on what grounds any of his allegations had merit. Instead, the Tribunal praised Guernsey Gas for taking account of the four basic principles of fairness by creating an open and transparent consultation process.

This decision is yet another reminder to employers of the need to undertake a fair consultation procedure taking into account the four basic principles, namely:

i) the duty to consult the employee

ii) the duty to warn of redundancy

iii) the duty to establish fair criteria for the selection of employees

iv) the duty to explore alternatives to redundancy

Whilst it is appreciated that the time and resources utilised in adopting such a process is not one to be envied (particularly for smaller organisations), we, as lawyers, cannot stress the importance of implementing a consultation procedure. Redundancy is a fair reason to terminate an employment contract, but the reason itself is not enough. Employers will only avoid successful unfair dismissal claims if they follow a fair and reasonable procedure such as an open consultation process. As the Tribunal acknowledged in Guernsey Gas, throughout the entire consultation process all employees were given several opportunities to raise questions about the proposals and fairness of the procedure; it had proved highly effective and employee input resulted in a number of changes and additional roles being created compared to the initial proposals. Employee input cannot be underestimated and this is central to creating a fair and reasonable consultation process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions