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21 October 2020

Redundancy for Gunnersaurus: have Arsenal made their dinosaur mascot extinct?

2 mins

Because nothing surprises in 2020 anymore, one of October’s leading employment law stories was the sad decision by Arsenal Football Club to make the position of long-term club mascot Gunnersaurus redundant.  In an all too on-point metaphor, Arsenal have decided that the absence of fans in the stadium has made the role of the club mascot, embodied as an Arsenal supporting dinosaur, is to be removed.   

Assuming that Gunnersaurus was an employee of the club, the dinosaur would be entitled to a fair and reasonable redundancy process.  Arsenal may have decided that Gunnersaurus was in a squad of one for the purposes of pooling, but he would be entitled to make representations during consultation to avoid the redundancy of mascots at the North London club. 

This appears to have been unsuccessful and redundancy is set to be the asteroid that wipes out this particular dinosaur.   However, shortly after the public announcement, one of the club’s players, Mesut Ozil stepped into the shoes of Bruce Willis in an attempt to save it from extinction.  Ozil, known for his assists (at least until fairly recently), came to the aid of the dinosaur by offering to pay the mascots full salary for the duration of his [Ozil’s] contract at the club. 

This does raise an interesting question about the fairness of Gunnersaurus’ dismissal.  Clearly we do not have the finer details and dates; dismissal challenges are fact specific in all cases, and it’s hard to imagine one more ‘fact specific’ than this.  That said, Gunnersaurus is generally entitled to an appeal against his decision, and the finding of additional funding on condition of maintaining his employment is an interesting strand to that appeal that would require some serious consideration.  

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