“Bumping” is the process of moving an employee whose role is at risk of redundancy into another role, and dismissing the occupier of that role.
In certain circumstances the employer may need to consider “bumping” a potentially redundant senior employee into the position of a more junior employee.
Bumping was discussed in a recent case involving Mr Mirab who was the sales director for Mentor Graphics (UK) Ltd. The employer no longer had a requirement for the role of sales director and made Mr Mirab redundant.
The tribunal found that the dismissal was a fair redundancy dismissal. The company had looked for alternatives to dismissal and was not required to consider bumping another employee from the more junior role of account manager because Mr Mirab had not raised this as a possibility.
However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that on one hand, the employee does not need to specifically raise the possibility of bumping for an employer to be expected to consider it. On the other hand, an employer does not always have to consider bumping for the dismissal to be fair. Fairness will always depend on the facts of the case and whether the employer fell within the range of reasonable responses open to the employer in the circumstances.