Ogilvy NZ employed Ms Waugh as a senior marketing executive. About six months later her role was terminated as she was made redundant.

Ogilvy relied on a significant reduction in the revenue of the business group to justify the redundancy. This had resulted from a number of developments including a major client reducing its spend significantly and another major client being reassigned.

Ms Waugh challenged her dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority. She argued that Ogilvy had known about the upcoming changes when they offered her employment. Dundas Street was engaged to represent Ogilvy.

The core issues raised were whether or not Ogilvy's decision to make Ms Waugh redundant met the legal test of what a fair and reasonable employer could have done and whether Ms Waugh had breached her good faith obligations. 

The case was evidentially and legally complex. There has been significant change in the law with regard to justifying redundancy following the Court of Appeal decision in Brake vs Grace Team Accounting Limited and we were required to satisfy the Authority that the higher threshold for justifying a redundancy was met. 

The ERA concluded that the redundancy was justified, Ms Waugh's claim was dismissed and she was found not to have acted in good faith.

Casestudy Unjustiied dismissal 825