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I have been made redundant after 26 years. I currently work in a part of the school which has been suspended and will close. I also cover main reception and student reception for five hours a week plus do other administration duties not connected to the sixth form. The redundancy proposal says that I only work in the sixth form. Is it fair that I am in the pool for redundancy?
Even where the reason for your position being made redundant is a genuine one, your employer must still follow a fair process in reaching the conclusion that it is your employment which has to end, as a result of the redundancy situation.
A fair selection process starts with the employer consider which roles will be impacted by the redundancy situation and who carries out those roles. These would then be the employees who form the pool of employees, to be considered for redundancy.
If a company does not consider the correct pool of employees when carrying out a redundancy process, there is a risk of being liable for an unfair dismissal claim.
There are no set rules as to who should form part of a redundancy pool, however there should be a sound business case for selecting any employee to form part of a pool. The company has the flexibility to decide who should fall within a redundancy selection pool. In order for a tribunal to decide whether a person’s selection for redundancy was fair, the tribunal would consider whether the chosen pool was within the company’s range of reasonable responses in the circumstances. The tribunal does not have the power to substitute its own decision for who should be selected and therefore it is difficult to challenge a redundancy pool.
It is important to point out that a redundancy selection pool consisting of one person, is not automatically unfair. If it is the work connected to the 6th form school which is ceasing or diminishing and you are the only person carrying out your role at the 6th form school, it may difficult for you to say that anybody not working for the 6th form school should also be included in the redundancy pool.
However, if you believe that your employer has relied on inaccurate information regarding the role you carry out, when deciding that your role will be redundant, you should challenge this with your employer. It is important to note that it is what you actually do day-to-day that would be relevant, not only the terms of any contract or job description you may have.
You could attempt to challenge your sole selection for redundancy, on the basis that your skills are interchangeable and therefore the others who work in the areas you also assist with, should also be pooled for redundancy. Whether they should also be included in the pool would depend on factors such as; what other elements are included within their roles and also your ability to carry out those other elements of their role.
If the redundancy process is not yet concluded, you can raise your concerns during the process. However, if your employment has now terminated, you should have been given the right to appeal the decision.
Should you wish to challenge your employer’s decision in the employment tribunal, you could try to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, on the basis that you feel you have been unfairly selected. If you wish to take this step, you must contact ACAS to commence what is known as the early conciliation process, this is a compulsory step prior to submitting your claim to an employment tribunal. You have 3 months less one day from the date your employment ended/ends to submit your claim to a tribunal (subject to any extension of time via the ACAS early conciliation process).