Redundancy appeal by ex-NHS Cumbria boss Nigel Woodcock dismissed


A former Cumbrian health boss has lost an appeal against a tribunal's decision not to award him £700,000 compensation for alleged unfair dismissal.

A 2009 employment tribunal said NHS Cumbria was within its rights to dismiss Nigel Woodcock before he was 50, thus avoiding a larger payout.

Mr Woodcock, 53, lost his job as chief executive of the North Cumbria Primary Care Trust in a 2006 reorganisation.

But he has failed to convince Appeal Court judges he was unfairly treated.

Mr Woodcock was given a redundancy payout of £225,000, but claimed he was owed more and was targeted because of his age.

'Loyal employee'

Had he still been employed in June 2008 - when he turned 50 - he would have been due an "enhanced" retirement package, worth between £500,000 and £1m.

His legal team argued the way his "distinguished and lifelong career" was brought to an abrupt end for cost-cutting reasons amounted to unfair "age discrimination".

But Lord Justice Rimer ruled Mr Woodcock could have no expectation of "a job for life" and despite being a victim of age discrimination, had been "treated with a proper degree of fairness".

Dismissing Mrs Woodcock's appeal, Lord Justice Rimer said: "I do not question his merits as an able and loyal employee, who had given long and valuable service to the NHS".

But the judge, sitting with Lady Justice Arden and Mr Justice Ryder, added: "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."

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