Medicine repacker wins unfair dismissal claim after being made redundant with no consultation



Makbool Javaid, Partner – Simons Muirhead Burton






In Mrs R Khamar v PIE Pharma Limited the respondent is a small family run business that engages in the parallel importation of  medicines from Europe. This includes repackaging of medicines. The claimant started working for the respondent on 5 June 2000.

In October 2021, the respondent decided to make redundancies which affected 15 repacking employees. The respondent’s business was adversely impacted by Brexit and declining supply changes. Several changes were implemented in the business to reduce costs prior to the redundancy exercise.

All repacking staff were assessed on the following criteria: attendance and uninformed absences; performance including understanding, aptitude and efficiency; and experience/ability on the job. This scoring exercise was completed by management in December 2021. Nine employees, including the claimant, were identified.

None of the employees at risk of redundancy were consulted about the selection criteria used. Mrs Khamar was sent a letter confirming that she would be made redundant. This letter was a fait accompli because it clearly served notice of termination of employment. It was not a letter that simply warned the claimant that she was at risk of redundancy, triggering a consultation process which could yield a different outcome thereby saving the claimant’s job.

Khamar told the tribunal she was “deeply shocked and distressed” by her dismissal and that the decision was made “before she met with management”, which the tribunal said it had “no reason to doubt”.

Khamar was awarded £2,616.71, but as she received jobseekers’ allowance the award was ‘subject to recoupment’ and she was only paid £500 for unfair dismissal.

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