New Supreme Court ruling on redundancy with offer of suitable alternative employment

In May this year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling which established that there could be a lower threshold for redundancy in cases where the employee is offered alternative employment within the same business at the same time.

The case concerned a first officer with Hurtigruten who was made redundant as a result of serious errors when sailing through Finnsnesrenna in Troms. At the same time as being made redundant, he was also offered a new position as a second officer within the same company.

The Supreme Court states that there is no explicit rule for the threshold for redundancy being lower in connection with redundancy with an offer of suitable alternative employment than otherwise. Nevertheless, it is noted that the impartiality assessment that must always be performed in connection with redundancies also involves a reasonableness assessment and a balancing of the interests of the employer and the employee. In cases where an employee is offered alternative employment with the business, the consequences of redundancy may be much less serious than if they were simply made redundant. This could have an impact on the reasonableness assessment. The weighting of the offer of alternative employment will vary depending on the circumstances associated with each individual case. To read the ruling in full, please see HR-2019-928-A