Inadequate Consultation Leads to Unfair Redundancy Dismissal: Key Issue in De Bank Haycocks v ADP RPO UK Ltd Case

Citation: [2023] EAT 129
Judgment on


The case of Joseph De Bank Haycocks v ADP RPO UK Ltd provides a rich substrate for examining legal principles governing redundancy and unfair dismissal within UK employment law. This case brings into sharp relief the importance of compliance with established good industrial relations practices, especially in the conduct of redundancies within a non-unionised, internationally-affiliated workforce. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) judgment explores the requisites of proper consultation and the permissibility of correcting process deficiencies at the appeal stage.

Key Facts

Joseph De Bank Haycocks appealed his dismissal for redundancy by ADP RPO UK Ltd to the Employment Tribunal (ET), which initially upheld the redundancy as fair. On appeal, the EAT identified deficiencies in the consultation process prior to dismissal. Notably, the consultation did not occur when the redundancy proposal was at a formative stage, and the employee was not given adequate information or time to engage effectively in the process.

Employment Judge Goodman adjudicated the ET hearing, focusing on whether the employer’s action to dismiss was reasonable under Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Importantly, the consultation was deemed inadequate since the employer had already made substantive decisions, including employee scoring, before engaging the appellant.

Numerous legal principles are interwoven in the adjudication of this case. They include:

  1. Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996: Serves as the foundational statute, setting out the standard for determining if a dismissal is fair or unfair.

  2. Consultation at a Formative Stage: The principle stemming from the case British Coal Corporation Secretary of State for Industry ex parte Price & Others, which requires consultation to be genuine, occurring at a time when proposals are still evolving and employees can truly influence outcomes.

  3. Fair Selection and Scoring: Derived from British Aerospace PLC v Green & Ors. and Camelot Group Plc v Hogg, this principle indicates that using scoring systems for redundancy selection must be executed within a context of fairness and is neither automatically fair nor exempt from scrutiny.

  4. Effectiveness of Appeals: From Lloyd v Taylor Woodrow Construction and Taylor v OCS, the principle that an appeal can correct earlier process failings emerges, with a requirement for the ET to consider the fairness of the entire disciplinary process, including the reason for dismissal.

  5. Consultation Quantity and Quality: Case law such as Mugford v Midland Bank and Mental Health Care (UK) Ltd v Biluan & Anor outlines that while the extent of consultation may vary, there is a general expectation that a lack of consultation must be justified in the specific context to not render a dismissal unfair.

  6. Good Industrial Relations Practice: This overarching principle, seen in case law such as Polkey v A E Dayton Services Ltd, Freud v Bentalls Ltd, and Mogane v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Anr., emphasizes the need for employers to warn, consult, and consider alternatives to redundancy to act reasonably.


The EAT concluded that the dismissal was unfair due to inadequate consultation. The case illustrates that a fair redundancy process must include early-stage engagement and allow scope for employee input to avoid or at least mitigate redundancies. The appeal stage could not rectify the lack of initial meaningful consultation. As the procedural fairness was compromised overall, the case was remitted for a remedy decision, specifically to the same ET.


In summary, the Haycocks v ADP RPO UK Ltd case reinforces the existing framework dictating good industrial relations practices as they pertain to the redundancy consultation process. The EAT’s judgment underscores the importance of early and meaningful consultation, adherence to fair scoring systems, and the necessity of justifying any departure from established good practice norms. This case serves as a pivotal reminder for employers of the imperatives embedded in Section 98(4) ERA 1996 and the substantive body of case law fashioned to safeguard fair redundancy procedures within UK employment.