Harmonisation and TUPE transfers

This post was also written by Danny Bloom. 

In Enterprise Managed Services Ltd v Dance and Others, a case concerning a TUPE transfer, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that a decision to ‘harmonise’ the incoming employees’ terms with existing employees could have been legitimately made to improve productivity, so that subsequent dismissals based upon the ‘harmonised’ terms may not have been for a reason connected with a transfer, and would therefore not be automatically unfair under TUPE. Although this case should be viewed with caution, it gives transferees some hope that where the reason for post-transfer harmonisation of terms and conditions takes place for a business decision such as to improve productivity, rather than for administrative tidiness, such changes may be lawful.

Regulation 7(1) of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) provides that any dismissal of an employee either before or after a relevant transfer will be automatically unfair where the sole or principal reason for the dismissal is either; (i) the transfer itself; or (ii) a reason connected with the transfer, that is not an economic, technical or organisational (‘ETO’) reason. Whether a dismissal is connected with the transfer is a question of fact and will be for the employer to prove that there is no causal link between the two events.Continue Reading UK: TUPE and post-transfer harmonisation of terms to improve productivity not connected to transfer