Sometimes, particularly in small businesses, a situation arises where only one employee needs to be made redundant. Without a pool of candidates to choose from, how do you prove that you’ve followed a fair redundancy process?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that you’re making a post redundant, not a person. This might mean that if a particular job function is being removed, and there’s only one person carrying it out, you may find yourself needing to follow a redundancy process for one employee.
As with all redundancies, you must make sure you have a valid reason for the redundancy and that you have considered all possible alternatives.
Be clear on the reasoning behind the redundancy
If the situation only places one employee is at risk, you will need to be able to justify why no other roles could also have been considered for redundancy. For example, it might be that their role has now been automated, so you no longer have work for them. You can’t simply make an employee redundant because they’re underperforming, or you don’t like them.
Consult with the employee
It’s important that you still consult with the employee, explaining why you are needing to make their position redundant and discussing any potential options for alternative work.
You’ll still need to follow a formal process, meaning you must still:
- invite the employee to a formal redundancy meeting, providing them with the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague
- give the appropriate notice
- confirm the termination in writing
- notify the employee of their right to appeal against the decision.
Take care when re-recruiting
Be mindful that if you advertise for a similar role too soon after you’ve made a position redundant, the employee may well be suspicious. If it’s within three months of their dismissal, they can still claim unfair dismissal against you.
If you do find yourself reinstating the role, it’s advisable to notify the original employee and ask if they wish to be considered for the role, particularly if it’s still within three months since the redundancy.
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Making a redundancy is one of the toughest HR issues to navigate as an employer. You also need to make sure you get the process right to protect yourself from unfair dismissal claims. That’s why it’s always best to have professional advice to help you get things right.
If you have any concerns or queries about the redundancy process, our HR consultants can help.
- How to manage voluntary redundancy
- Redundancy: A step-by-step guide
- Employer’s guide to the notice period
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25th Jul 2016