To ensure that any redundancy dismissal is fair, the employer must always:
l Have a sound economic reason for its decision
l Use fair redundancy selection criteria
l Consult with each affected employee
l Notify those selected for redundancy of their individual selection scores.
Questioning the decision
Suppose an employee claims they are entitled to have:
1. Their individual redundancy selection score explained in some detail; and
2. The right to challenge it if they so wish.
What happens then? This is exactly what happened in Pinewood Repro Ltd v Page 2010. In this case, on selecting him for redundancy, Pinewood said Page's scores were both "accurate and reasonable", but would not give any more detail. Page argued that, as he was not given a full explanation as to how the scores were reached and the opportunity to challenge them his subsequent redundancy was unfair.
The parties ended up before the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which sided with Page. In doing so, it said that when handling a redundancy situation, the 'consultation' process must involve a full explanation of the individual selecting scores. This allows the employee the "fair and proper opportunity" to fully understand the employer's reasoning behind the redundancy decision and express their views.
Plus, it allows the employer to consider those views "properly and genuinely". Without such steps, a genuine consultation process cannot take place.
Page's employer could have dealt with his concerns satisfactorily, had it agreed to provide further information on his selection scores during the redundancy process, but this didn't happen. Had it "reasonably" answered his queries, rather than stonewalling them, it was unlikely his claim would ever have been successful.
In a redundancy situation, you don't have to offer the selected employee(s) an appeal, but there are various benefits to including this stage in your process. Firstly, it shows a reasonable approach overall. Secondly, it allows you to remedy anything that was overlooked during the initial redundancy consultation meeting, where the scores were revealed, as well as the opportunity to correct any information that has turned out to be inaccurate.
Always set out your own procedures in a clear policy.
l For a free sample of 'redundancy policy', NAMB members can call 01920 468061.