One person can be an ‘organised grouping of employees’

By Elizabeth Lang, Penny Hunt


In Rynda (UK) Ltd v Rhijnsburger, the EAT considered the case of a claimant who provided office management services.

She worked on her own, managing the same properties, but for a series of employers. She was dismissed after only 10 months' service with her most recent employer. She successfully argued that there had been a series of TUPE ‘service provision changes’ which meant that she had sufficient continuity of employment to file an unfair dismissal claim. There was an ‘organised grouping of employees’ of which she was the only member. The EAT agreed.

Points to note:

  • The TUPE test for an ‘organised grouping of employees’ hinges on the ‘activities’ that they are engaged in. To decide that, a tribunal will look at what the employer’s intent was, and also at what the employee was actually doing.

  • When considering the employer’s intent, it is reasonable to ask whether the employee was providing these particular services as a matter of ‘happenstance’ or ‘accident’ rather than deliberate planning by the employer.

This article is part of the UK Employment Law Update for October 2013