‘Bumping’ is where an employee whose role is at risk of redundancy is moved into another role, and the employee currently performing that role is dismissed.
In March, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in the case of Mirab v Mentor Graphics (UK) considered whether employers are required to consider bumping when making redundancies, even if the employee does not request it.
Employers must ensure that any redundancy selection process is fair. This means that there is a genuine redundancy situation and that a fair procedure is followed throughout, including when determining the selection pool and in consideration of alternatives to redundancy. This can also include consideration of bumping.
The key point from this case is that the obligation to consider bumping can still arise even if the employee does not raise it as a possibility. It can therefore render a dismissal unfair if an employer does not raise and give consideration to ‘bumping’ during a redundancy consultation process.
It remains the case that there is no obligation to consider bumping in every case. However this case highlights that it will usually be advisable to raise it with the employee in the consultation process and to give it consideration, if it is requested.
Note that if an at-risk employee requests that another employee is ‘bumped’, this does not mean you have to grant their request. The obligation is only to consider bumping and to be able to give your reasons for why it is, or is not, appropriate in the particular circumstances.