Selection Criteria in Redundancy
Objectivity in a redundancy selection is a key element of fairness. The criteria used to score “at risk” employees within a selection pool in order to decide who is made redundant should, as far as possible, be objective (eg attendance, disciplinary record) rather than subjective (eg attitude). But can an employer ever go too far in their quest for objectivity? Can insisting on entirely objective criteria with no recognition of past good performance actually render a redundancy procedure unfair?
Yes said the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Mental Health Care v Biluan and Makati. MHC applied a selection procedure that was more akin to a recruitment process than a redundancy process. It was based on three factors: attendance record, disciplinary record and a competency assessment. It was undertaken by managers who had not previously worked with the affected employees. Length of service, past appraisals and past good performance were not considered. As a result a number of good workers were selected for redundancy to the surprise of management who stuck by
the process and ultimately dismissed the lowest scorers. The Tribunal found that the clinical process used was unreasonable and so unfair.
When determining the criteria for a selection exercise employers should not only consider whether the criteria is objective but also whether the
process on the whole is reasonable. Common sense and fairness should be applied even if this means allowing an element of justifiable subjectivity.