Redundancy; the classic definition

“Further, in Hodgson v Amcor Ltd; Amcor Ltd & Ors v Barnes & Ors [2012] VSC 94, Vickery J (‘Hodgson v Amcor’), after summarising the various authorities, arrived at the following conclusions:

‘In essence, subject to any qualification or re-statement found in the relevant contract of employment or any applicable statute, the common law concept of “redundancy” comes down to the following propositions:

(a) A job becomes redundant when the job of the employee ceases to exist because the employer, for whatever reason, whether by reason of reorganisation, mechanization, change in demand or other reason, no longer desires to have it performed by anyone;

(b) This can occur either when the role no longer exists or the duties have so changed that for all practical purposes the original role no longer exists;

(c) However, redundancy is not limited to the circumstance where the employer, no longer desires to have the work previously performed by the terminated employee done by anyone;

(d) A redundancy may also arise upon the redistribution of job functions, where the duties performed by an employee are redistributed among other employees. In this case the employer still requires the duties to be performed, but the re-organisation may give rise to a redundancy. In this event, although the duties remain to be performed, “for all practical purposes the original role no longer exists” because the duties are divided and assigned amongst others. In such a case the question is whether any function or duty remains to be performed by the employee. A redundancy will occur if, after the reorganisation, the employee in question is left with no duties to discharge; and

(e) Redundancy will not arise where the termination of employment is carried out solely because of any personal act or default of the employee terminated or for any consideration peculiar to that employee [endnotes omitted, emphasis added].’”

See Rocha De Souza v UPC Pty Ltd  [2019] FWC 4936 delivered 19 July 2019 per Sams DP