In the recent case of Readman v Devon Primary Care Trust 
the Employment Appeals Tribunal overturned a decision made by the
Employment Tribunal and concluded that an employee can reasonably
refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment.
Mrs Readman, a nurse, was at risk of redundancy and was
alternative posts by her Employer. These alternative posts included
that of a hospital matron. However, since 1985 Mrs Readman had been
a community nurse and had therefore not worked within a hospital
setting for some years.
Mrs Readman turned down the post on the basis that she had no
desire to return to working in a hospital environment. As a result
of refusing the alternative employment Mrs Readman was not awarded
a redundancy payment by her Employer.
The Employment Tribunal rejected Mrs Readman's claim to a
redundancy payment on the grounds that her refusal was
On Appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned the
decision of the Tribunal on the basis that the question of
reasonableness should not be considered as a wholly objective
The EAT ruled that when considering whether a refusal of
suitable alternative employment was unreasonable the Tribunal
should have considered whether the employee in question acted
reasonably in turning down the offer of alternative employment.
The refusal of the offer must be for a reason that is a sound
The EAT allowed the appeal and Mrs Readman was entitled to
receive a redundancy payment.
The redundancy process is a legal minefield and if not handled
correctly can lead to valid Employment Tribunal Claims.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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