An Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has set aside a finding by an employment tribunal that a doctor did not act unreasonably in refusing a suitable alternative job offer after he was made redundant, and was therefore entitled to redundancy payment.

Lincoln and Louth NHS trust offered anaesthetist Patrick Jonathan Cowan an associate specialist's job at a smaller hospital after his locum consultant post became redundant.

Neither he nor his BMA representative responded to the offer to discuss the job, and they gave no reasons why it was unacceptable before filing a claim with the tribunal.

It was only at the hearing that Dr Cowan explained he found the on-call arrangements too onerous and that a smaller hospital would not provide sufficient complex surgery to advance his career.

An employee who unreasonably turns down an offer of suitable alternative employment is not entitled to a redundancy payment and the trust argued that Dr Cowan fell into that category.

The tribunal accepted that the job on offer was a suitable alternative and criticised the anaesthetist and his representative for refusing to discuss it, but held that Dr Cowan had not acted unreasonably in refusing it.

The EAT set the tribunal's findings aside because it appeared not to have taken this aspect into account.

The case will now go to a fresh tribunal.