No job for life for ex-NHS Cumbria head23 March 2012
The ex chief executive of the North Cumbria Primary Care Trust (PCT) Nigel Woodcock has lost his appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that he should not get £700,000 compensation for being laid off before he was 50.
Claiming unfair dismissal because of his age, Woodcock was made redundant in 2006 with a payout of £225,000 but he took his case to tribunal. A ruling in 2009 said that his employer NHS Cumbria was within its rights to dismiss him so he then took his case to the Appeal Court but they upheld the original ruling.
Woodcock's claim was that he was laid off before turning 50 to save the PCT money because had he been dismissed after reaching that age he would have been entitled to a payout of between £500,000 and £1m.
However, Lord Justice Rimer said there should have been no expectation of "a job for life" and Woodcock was "treated with a proper degree of fairness".
He added: "I do not question his merits as an able and loyal employee, who had given long and valuable service to the NHS. [But] Mr Woodcock's long and able service with the NHS did not entitle him to a job for life, or even to the expectation of a job for life. Employment in a particular post will commonly carry with it the risk of redundancy and Mr Woodcock enjoyed no special immunity from the risk that applied to his."