Redundancy is a painful process for both the employee and the employer. It is a decision that many businesses seek to avoid but sometimes a restructure of roles or reducing the number of roles is a necessary evil. Therefore, it is crucial that the redundancy process is handled fairly and as sensitively as possible. There are three areas that employers need to be mindful of:
Was there a genuine ground for the redundancy?
Was the employee fairly selected for redundancy?
Was a reasonable redundancy procedure implemented?
Most case law for unfair dismissal by way of redundancy falls under one of these three reasons and the next few articles will detail how businesses can avoid incurring a potential WRC claim for one of these reasons. This article will look at the first point, is there a genuine ground for the redundancy?
Under section 7(2) of the Redundancy Payments Act it details five grounds that employers can rely on if they need to make a role or roles redundant. These are as follows:
( a) the fact that their employer has ceased, or intends to cease, to carry on the business for the purposes of which the employee was employed by them, or has ceased or intends to cease, to carry on that business in the place where the employee was so employed
( b ) the fact that the requirements of that business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where he was so employed have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish
( c ) the fact that his employer has decided to carry on the business with fewer or no employees, whether by requiring the work for which the employee had been employed (or had been doing before his dismissal) to be done by other employees or otherwise
( d ) the fact that his employer has decided that the work for which the employee had been employed (or had been doing before his dismissal) should henceforward be done in a different manner for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified or trained
( e ) the fact that his employer has decided that the work for which the employee had been employed (or had been doing before his dismissal) should henceforward be done by a person who is also capable of doing other work for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified or trained
A business must rely on one of these five grounds in order to justify the redundancy and be confident that they can stand over the decisions to reduce roles. This is especially important for standalone redundancies which can often be seen as a way of getting rid of the person as opposed to the role. The ground will need to be referred to during the redundancy process as well as the documentation relating to it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the advice section on our website www.sfa.ie/advice