April 18, 2013

Redundancy selection and competency assessment

The employer conducted a redundancy exercise selecting staff from criteria comprising disciplinary and absence records and a competency assessment. In the vast majority of cases it was the competency assessment score which was decisive. The manager expressed surprise at the results, stating that several of those selected for redundancy on the basis of the competency test were good employees. The Tribunal held that the dismissals were unfair. This was because capability had been assessed mainly on the competency assessments and had not taken any account of previous performance.

The employer appealed on the basis that the Tribunal had substituted its own view for that of the employer. The appeal was dismissed; however, the EAT acknowledged that the employer took care over the process but chose what was described as an “elaborate and HR driven method” which prevented it from obtaining input from managers and others who knew the staff in question. The EAT commented that while it was important to avoid to much subjectivity and bias selection, an element of subjectivity may well be needed to ensure that the overall selection process is fair.

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

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