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Care assistant wins unfair dismissal claim after being made redundant instead of being furloughed

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Mhindurwa v Lovingangels Care Limited, an Employment Tribunal held that an employee, who was made redundant in the early months of the pandemic, was unfairly dismissed because her employer did not consider furloughing her.

Mrs Mhindurwa was employed as a care assistant. She raised a grievance in February 2020 relating to the fact that she should have a written statement of particulars, she had not been auto-enrolled into a pension and she had not been provided with a copy of the Employee Handbook.  There was also an alleged issue with underpayment of wages.

Mrs Mhindurwa  was providing live-in care for an elderly woman until in February 2020 the lady was moved into a care home. In May 2020 she asked to be furloughed but was refused on the basis that her employer couldn’t offer her any more live-in care work due to the restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus. In July 2020 she was dismissed for redundancy.

Her unfair dismissal claim was upheld. The principal reason for this was that the judge held that ‘in July 2020 a reasonable employer would have given consideration to whether she should be furloughed to avoid being dismissed on grounds of redundancy’.

Although her employer had no work for her at the time of the dismissal, it had no way of knowing if that was going to change and didn’t consider whether she should be furloughed for a time to see if any other work became available.

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