It was announced today that the European Court has reached a decision in the Woolworths case regarding the meaning of an ‘establishment’.
As you may recall from our 2013 article here, when Woolworths closed down they did not engage in consultation at stores with fewer than 20 employees, as they considered that the statutory threshold (20 or more staff to be made redundant within a 90 day period) had not been met. However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal reached the surprising conclusion that ‘one establishment’ actually meant ‘any number of establishments’ when calculating whether the threshold had been reached and therefore collective consultation was required.
The European Court has now reversed that decision and held that the word ‘establishment’ in the collective redundancy legislation refers to the place where an individual works or, the entity to which the employees made redundant were assigned to carry out their duties, and not to the employer as a whole. This is a welcome clarification to what was had been area of uncertainty for employers and their advisers.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).