Did failing to actively consider furlough make a redundancy dismissal unfair?

This is a decision of the employment tribunal only, but it is interesting as Covid-19 cases come through the tribunal system.

The Claimant was a care assistant, employed to provide live-in care for an elderly woman. In February 2020, the woman moved into a care home, so on the face of it the Claimant’s role looked redundant. In May 2020, she asked to be furloughed but this was refused because her employer said there was no work for her and dismissed her for redundancy in July 2020.

The Judge held that the dismissal was unfair. He was of the view that in July 2020 a reasonable employer would have given consideration to whether the Claimant should be furloughed to avoid being dismissed for redundancy. Although the Respondent had no work for the Claimant at the time of the dismissal, it had no way of knowing if that was going to change in the future. The Respondent should have considered furlough for a time to see if any other work became available but failed to do so.