The Central London Employment Tribunal found the company failed to consult them collectively about their dismissal at a hearing on Thursday.
The decision follows a long-running battle by the employment law team at Shrewsbury-based law firm Aaron & Partners for the claimants, all of whom were terminated with immediate effect on March 12, 2021 – the date on which society collapsed.
Aaron & Partners welcomed the court’s judgment, which means the 277 claimants received the maximum award of 90 days’ pay, meaning they could receive up to £4.5million in total from their former employer.
The Tribunal rejected Greensill’s defense based on special circumstances, finding that there was no “sudden catastrophe” that prevented them from consulting with staff.
They failed to prove they had taken all practical steps to consult with staff, with the judge finding they had taken no action.
Paul Hennity, Employment Lawyer at Aaron & Partners, said: “We are delighted that the team at Aaron & Partners was able to achieve such an excellent outcome for these people, who were terminated without any respect for the regular procedure.
Of the 277 former staff, 205 were employed at the company’s base in Daresbury, Cheshire, with the rest in London.
During the court, Labor Judge Andrew Glennie accepted the plaintiff’s argument that doing nothing should at best be considered gross naivety, or at worst a deliberate decision to do nothing.
He noted that there was no evidence to suggest that Greensill had had the opportunity to seek legal advice but, given the size of the organization, there was no reason for the Tribunal to believe that he could not have taken legal advice.
The Court concluded that the proposed sale to Apollo, which collapsed on March 10, 2021, was only a proposal and not an offer to buy.
They also found that the appointment of directors Grant Thornton on December 31, 2020 indicated that Greensill knew there was a risk of job losses and that the company had been in financial difficulty for about a year before the layoffs.
Neither Greensill nor the administrators produced any witnesses at the final hearing to support the special circumstances defense, and no representative attended the hearing to make submissions or cross-examine the witnesses on their behalf.