SEB did not unfairly dismiss psychologist

AN ‘effective, conscientious and well-respected civil servant’ left his job due to how he was communicated with and managed by the government during a major restructure, the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal has found.

Julian Radcliffe (29204553)
Julian Radcliffe (29204553)

However, despite the tribunal’s comments, it was found that he was not constructively unfairly dismissed by the States Employment Board and that there had been no breach of contract.

According to a judgment, Julian Radcliffe, an educational psychologist, said that he felt that he had no choice but to resign following a string of issues – including how his position was altered and how he was only informed that he had been removed from a board after sitting down with other members for a scheduled meeting.

He added that his trust in his employer was ‘significantly eroded’, after a consultation process – which should have started within three months – had still not begun after 18 months.

The judgment stated that this was amid an announcement made by government chief executive, Charlie Parker, who said the organisation was ‘fat’ on directors and that there would be ‘22 fewer senior roles in the first phase of the restructuring’.

According to the judgment Mr Radcliffe added that he found this very worrying as, after seeing the new staff structure model, he realised his role was ‘a bit of an anomaly’ and parts of his role would likely be split across different directorates.

The judgment said: ‘This case, therefore, deals with a very unfortunate situation. It appears that an effective, conscientious and well respected member of staff left due to the way in which he was managed and communicated with by his employer. In addition, I do not underestimate the impact that the claimant’s resignation had upon him and his family.

‘Accordingly, this was a difficult decision to make and I have considered very carefully whether the respondent’s conduct constituted a breach of contract that was sufficiently serious so as to allow the claimant to treat the contract as no longer continuing. The burden of proving this lies with the claimant and a high bar is set for this to be satisfied.’

It added: ‘In the current case the claimant was still being paid the same, he had not been advised that his salary would reduce, he still had work that he was able to conduct and he had been given general reassurance that this would continue to be the case.

‘As these fundamental elements were in place and considering all of the conclusions drawn above, I do not find that the respondent’s conduct when looked at together as a whole was sufficient to have entitled the claimant to treat the contract as at an end. Accordingly, the claim for constructive unfair dismissal does not succeed.’

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