The Central London Employment Tribunal found that the company failed to collectively consult with them on their redundancy at a hearing on Thursday.
The decision follows a long-fought battle led by the Employment Law Team at Shrewsbury-based legal firm Aaron & Partners for the claimants, who had all been dismissed with immediate effect on March 12, 2021 – the date the company collapsed.
Aaron & Partners has welcomed tribunal's judgment which means that all 277 claimants were granted the maximum award of 90 days’ pay, meaning they could be awarded as much as £4.5m in total from their former employer.
The Tribunal rejected Greensill’s defence of special circumstances, finding that there was no “sudden disaster” which prevented them from consulting with staff.
They failed to prove they had taken all practicable steps to consult with staff, with the judge concluding that they had taken no steps whatsoever.
Paul Hennity, Employment Law Solicitor at Aaron & Partners, said: “We are pleased that the Aaron & Partners Team has managed to secure such an excellent result for these people, who were dismissed without any regard for due process.”
Of the 277 former members of staff, 205 were employed at the firm’s base in Daresbury, Cheshire, with the rest in London.
During the tribunal, Employment Judge Andrew Glennie agreed with the claimant’s submission that a failure to do anything must, at best, be seen as serious naivety, or at worst, a deliberate decision to do nothing.
He noted that there was no evidence to suggest whether Greensill had the opportunity to take legal advice but, noting the size of the organisation, there was no reason for the Tribunal to believe that it could not have taken legal advice.
The Tribunal found the proposed sale to Apollo, which collapsed on March 10 2021, was merely a proposal and was not an offer to purchase.
They also found that the appointment of administrators Grant Thornton on 31 December 2020 was an indication that Greensill knew there was a risk of job losses and that the company had been in financial difficulty for approximately a year before the dismissals.
Neither Greensill nor the administrators produced any witnesses at the final hearing to support the special circumstances defence, nor did any representatives attend the hearing to make submissions or to cross examine the witnesses on their behalf.