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29 August 2012

Redundancy selection pools

Our employment team reports on a recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which considers when it is appropriate to identify a ‘pool’ from which employees are selected for redundancy.

The employer in this case, a golf club, decided to make its club steward redundant in order to save costs.  The employer consulted with the employee and subsequently confirmed his redundancy following a number of meetings with him.  His duties, which included the management of the bar area, were to be undertaken by other members of the catering and bar staff.

The employee brought a claim for unfair dismissal, which was upheld by an employment tribunal.  The tribunal concluded that in making the club steward redundant, without considering whether to identify a pool of employees from which to select for redundancy, was not within the “range of reasonable responses” required for the dismissal to be fair.

The employer appealed to the EAT.  The EAT confirmed that there is no requirement to identify a pool for selection in a redundancy situation, and it might be perfectly reasonable for the employer to consider a single employee for redundancy.  The tribunal in this case had failed to consider whether, given the nature of his job as a club steward, it was reasonable for the employer not to consider identifying a wider pool of employees from which to select. The employer’s appeal was upheld and the case remitted for a rehearing.

Comment

There is no requirement to follow a selection process in a redundancy situation, in circumstances where an individual’s role is no longer required and they are the only person carrying out that role.  Provided the employee is properly consulted with prior to confirming the redundancy, the dismissal will be fair.  However, it might still be necessary as part of the consultation process to consider whether it is appropriate to ‘bump’ another employee, making them redundant instead in order to retain the services of the employee whose role is no longer required.

If a number of employees carry out similar duties, then it will be more appropriate to identify a pool of employees from which to select for redundancy.

A copy of the judgment is available here