When an employer is in a position where it needs to reduce its workforce by making redundancies, it is often faced with the dilemma of how to choose which employees should go, and which should stay. Where there are a number of employees with similar roles, this is normally done by identifying the correct pool from which to select employees, and then scoring each employee against a number of criteria.
In the recent case of Nicholls v Rockwell Automation Limited, Mr Nicholls argued that his dismissal was unfair because he said some of his scores were lower than they should have been. The Tribunal agreed with Mr Nicholls’ arguments, and his claim succeeded. However, the employer appealed, and the claim went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT disagreed with the Tribunal’s decision. They held that so long as the employer had made a genuine attempt to score employees as it reasonably assessed them, it was not for the Tribunal to examine the scoring and substitute its own view as to what the scores should have been. The dismissal was therefore fair.
This decision will be a relief to employers, who often have great difficulty in scoring employees objectively in these circumstances. However, they should still take care in setting the criteria and then make sure that they are as objective as possible in their assessment. The EAT did say that if there was an ulterior motive by the employer, then it would be open to Tribunals to review the scores, so employers will still have to be able to defend the scores they have given.
Do you need help with selection criteria? Whether you are dealing with one redundancy or one hundred, our team has experience in advising employers of all sizes on redundancy exercises. Why not give us a call today on 01243 836840 or email [email protected].