ET holds that failure to consider furlough made dismissal unfair

Tuesday 10th August 2021

In Mhindurwa v Lovingangels Care Limited, an ET has held that a reasonable employer would consider furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme before dismissing an employee by reason of redundancy.

Mrs Mhindurwa was employed as a care assistant to provide live-in care for an elderly client. In February 2020, her client was admitted to hospital and subsequently began residing in a care home. Consequently, Mrs Mhindurwa’s live-in care services were no longer needed. LCL made Mrs Mhindurwa redundant in July 2020. 

Mrs Mhindurwa brought several claims before the ET, including unfair dismissal. The ET held that while the reason for dismissal had been redundancy due to a reduction in, or complete lack of, live-in care opportunities, the dismissal was unfair. In May 2020, Mrs Mhindurwa had asked to be furloughed, but this option was discounted by LCL on the basis that there was no work for her due to Covid-19. The ET decided that this was exactly the sort of situation that the CJRS was available for, providing support for employers to avoid laying off staff and held that LCL had failed to explain why furlough was not properly considered during the redundancy exercise or on appeal. The ET held that in July 2020 any reasonable employer would have considered using the CJRS to avoid a redundancy dismissal.

As a first instance decision, the judgement is not binding, but it may be persuasive in similar cases. The CJRS is ending on 30 September 2021.

All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.