A look at redundancy part two – the selection process

It is essential that when roles are being made redundant that the selection process is fair and that those employees who are selected are done so in a transparent and fair manner. Most third party claims in relation to redundancy are often based on the selection process and the most common types of claims made in relation to redundancy are taken under the Unfair Dismissals Act and the Employment Equality Act. So how can employers ensure they are conducting a fair process when it comes to making roles redundant? 

When pooling employees for redundancy selection, the most common methods are: 

  • Last in First Out, often referred to as LIFO 

  • Selection matrix that is objectively based on the skills of the employees who are pooled for redundancy 

In addition, businesses need to be mindful of the following two points: 

  1. Custom and practice – what did the company do in previous redundancies? 

  1. Agreed procedure – is there a precedent or an agreed procedure? This is more commonly seen in unionised work environments. 

Businesses need to be careful that when it comes to selecting employees for redundancy, that a claim could be brought against them if the redundancy is found to be based on one of the following basis: 

  1. Other employees should have been included in the pool. This can often arise in the case of standalone redundancies where one person is selected but others are not included in the pool.    

  1. There has been a contravention of an agreed procedure or the company is not following its own custom and practice. It is important that companies are aware of how redundancies have been previously managed, did they use LIFO or selection matrix?  If it was a selection matrix, is the company now using a similar objective method for the current redundancy selection? 

  1. The selection criteria are unfair and based on subjective reasons. It is crucial that a business can stand over its selection criteria and that the reason for making a role or roles, rather than the person, redundant, is based on objective grounds. This same objectivity is very important when using a selection matrix so the focus should be on employee competencies, disciplinary record, capabilities, teamwork and so forth. A scoring mechanism can work well in terms of ensuring it remains objective as opposed to personal commentaries on each employee who is being considered.  

  1. The redundancy was based on one of the nine grounds under the Employment Equality act, for example age, race, pregnancy etc. Earlier this year we shared a case where a pregnant employee was made redundant based on their pregnancy and they were awarded €17,000 which you can read here.  

  1. Part time or fixed term employees may not be selected before full time /permanent employees just because of their part time or fixed term status. 

The SFA have a webinar on managing redundancies which includes some case law on redundancies which you can view here.


If you have any specific concerns or questions please contact Helen on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the advice section on our website www.sfa.ie/advice  

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A look at redundancy part two – the selection process
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