Applying selection criteria when making redundancies

Andrew Masters

Partner & Head of Employment

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July 15, 2020

Categories Employment Law Updates

Part five of ‘Seven things to think about when making redundancies’ series

5. Applying the criteria

When the selection criteria have been chosen and the affected employees identified, the employer must then go about the process of applying those criteria to identify the employees who are to be made redundant. That can be largely a paper exercise, with a manager scoring employees under each of the criteria to produce a selection matrix. Those employees who score the lowest will be provisionally selected for redundancy and will then be given an opportunity to comment on or challenge the way in which their scores have been arrived at – usually in a one-to-one interview.

There is an increasing trend for employers to use an interview with the employee to make the actual assessment of who should be made redundant.

Essentially, affected employees are asked to apply for the remaining roles within the part of the business concerned and the employer runs, in effect, what amounts to a recruitment exercise.

While this approach is well established and is not unfair in itself, it should be approached with care. Performance in the interview should not be allowed to predominate over what the employer knows of the employee’s performance at work.
An employee may struggle to articulate qualities that they have amply demonstrated in their work and it would be a mistake to make an employee redundant simply because they do not perform at their best when interviewed. Any interview should therefore be focussed clearly on the selection criteria that have been identified and the employer should make sure that the employee’s actual performance in the job is taken fully into account.

Employees who are selected for redundancy should be told why they were selected and how they were assessed against each of the criteria. They should also be given the opportunity to correct any errors in that assessment. This may involve a formal appeal against their selection, but this is far from being a universal practice and is not a legal requirement.

Provided the employee has been consulted about the criteria being used and the employer can show that they have been fairly applied, then this will generally be sufficient.

For legal advice about making redundancies contact Andrew Masters on 01227 763939 or email