In a redundancy situation, selection for an alternative role can involve subjective criteria
Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd v Monte-D'Cruz  UKEAT 0039/11
In this case, the Claimant's role was placed at risk of redundancy in October 2009 following the combination of 4 roles into a single head of department position. The Claimant was employed as a Senior Manager.
The Claimant was invited to apply for other positions available internally and was interviewed for the position of Head of Sales but was unsuccessful in the process. He then applied to be considered for the role of Business Region Team Leader, the nature of which he believed largely reflected his own position. Samsung employed an external candidate and the Claimant was subsequently dismissed by redundancy.
The interview process assessed ten key competencies including, but not limited to, challenge, speed, continuous innovation and teamwork/leadership.
The Claimant claimed unfair dismissal alleging that he had been 'engineered out' as he believed that there were other suitable alternative vacancies within the company which he could have fulfilled.
The Claimant was successful and the Tribunal awarded compensation totalling the sum of £64,722 as the Tribunal found that although he had genuinely been dismissed for redundancy, the consultation process was inadequate. The Claimant raised concerns with the objectivity of the criteria, stating that the core competencies were not properly defined.
Samsung appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal ('EAT') on the grounds that the Tribunal had erred in its findings.
The EAT allowed the appeal and the Claimant's unfair dismissal claim was dismissed.
The EAT held that there was no obligation by Samsung to use objective criteria in the context of an interview for suitable alternative vacancies and can decide to appoint who it considers to be the best candidate for the role.
The EAT found that the Tribunal should have regarded the principle as defined in Morgan v Welsh Rugby Union ;
''A tribunal is entitled to consider, as part of its deliberations, how far an interview process was objective, but it should keep carefully in mind that an employer's assessment of which candidate will best perform in a new role is likely to involve a substantial element of judgment.''