Employment Law

Employee protection legislation also for the already protected

The Employment Court recently held that the right to transfer also applies to employees who Parliament had probably not considered to be covered by legislation.

Part 6 A Employment Relations Act is designed to protect specified employees in the event that their work is to be performed by another person as a result of restructuring. They can then elect to transfer to the new employer on the same terms and conditions.  The main groups of employees Parliament had in mind were workers in the cleaning, food, catering, caretaking, orderly and laundry services. It applies in an outsourcing-situation where the employer decides to restructure its business so that part of its normal in-house functions are performed  by a contractor. The Act also covers a situation where the employer’s contract with a customer expires and a competitor takes over the services.  For instance, if employer A contracts with contractor B and the contract expires and A then contracts with contractor C,  affected employees of B (!) can elect transferring to C.  Confused?  Best to focus on the perspective of the affected employee. If someone else is doing his job, the legislation allows them to transfer.

Now , in the case, the affected employee was a manager, so arguably not a ‘vulnerable’ employee. However, the Court held  that it didn’t matter. The legislation might have been drafted with vulnerable employees in mind, but the term  is not used or defined. Hence, even managers can rely on Part6A.



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