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Byline: Joe Michna, Hartlepool Citizens' Advice Bureau manager

Q. When employers are selecting employees for redundancy, do they have to use any kind of special procedure?

A. An employer is free to choose any selection criteria provided it can be objectively assessed and it does not involve discrimination.

Q. What if there is already an agreed redundancy selection procedure?

A. Some employers will have a recognised procedure which will be part of the contract with employees. It may be just included in the employee's contract of employment or it may have been agreed with a recognised trade union or representatives of the employees.

Q. What are some common examples of selection criteria that employers may use?

A. Some examples of selection factors that employers may use include:

length of service

ability and performance

time keeping

disciplinary records

flexibility and adaptability of employees

Q. Do some employers still use a system known as LIFO?

A. LIFO, that is 'last in, first out' means that those employees with the longest service with their employer will stay and hose most recently employed will be dismissed.

However, using this factor alone could lead to claims for age discrimination as it may discriminate against younger employees and an employer will need to justify using this criterion in selecting candidates for redundancy Q. What are Matrix (points) Systems?

A. The matrix system works by setting objective criteria relating to ability and performance and then giving each employee points according to how they meet the criterion. The employees who get he lowest points allocation will be those to be made redundant. If there are a number of employees with the same number of points, the employer may then use LIFO to decide which of them will be made redundant Q. Can an employer use selection based on attendance records?

A. Choosing which employees are to be made redundant by using attendance records is acceptable as an objective criterion. However, there are conflicting court decisions over how far an employer has a duty to investigate the reasons for the non-attendance. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that there is a general principle for employers to ensure they have informed themselves as much as possible about the reasons for an employee's absence Q. What other steps should an employer take to ensure that redundancies are fair and cannot be challenged at an Employment Tribunal?

A Other steps an employer should take are:

considering alternative work if appropriate

as much consultation and warning as possible

offer an employee an appeal against a decision to dismiss.

For further advice and information on all Employment Law matters, contact your local CAB. There are CABs located in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton on Tees
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 4, 2009
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