Businesses may need to look at workforce numbers as a result of Covid-19. This is to adjust and protect the longevity of the business however, beware of breaching Equality and Diversity when pulling together a Redundancy Selection Criteria.

Planning redundancy is a Statutory Process but can be fraught with pitfalls. This applies more than ever to the selection criteria you may look to apply when selecting roles/people for redundancy.

Consider the tips below to make sure there is no unconscious bias or discrimination built into the process.

One of the key things is to understand the Redundancy Process. Remember any other related agreements you have in place and be sure you follow them.

If you have no process, then you will need to follow the ACAS guidelines. Make sure to check continuously that there is fairness in all decision making during the process.

Why is this important?

The Employment Tribunal will review and assess whether the employer has reasonably taken all steps possible. They will want proof the employer has met the requirements of equality legislation. Not only that but that they have mitigated the potential for discrimination.

Top Tips to Ensure a Fair Process:

  • Have a clearly set out selection criteria that uses scoring to assess, rather than subjective narrative.
  • People with a protected characteristics can be selected for redundancy. However, avoid unfair reasons or decisions that could be discriminatory and make sure they’re not being selected because of their characteristic.
  • Review the criteria for pooling groups for redundancy as they will they have an adverse impact on a particular group. For example, part timers could discriminate against women. By focusing on middle managers, it could remove your female talent pipeline.
  • Sickness record can be challenged. Only if there is an adverse impact or indirect discrimination due to age, gender, disability, mental health issues etc.
  • Disability & reasonable adjustments. Disability should not be penalised. This takes into account adjustments, different work patterns or time out for medical appointments.
  • Ensuring those on maternity are not disadvantaged and kept consulted on any changes to structure, job roles or redundancy options.
  • Last in and first out (LIFO) could impact on women, young people, BAME etc so should be avoided

One last thought to consider given the current crisis.

If you are looking at sickness or attendance levels, be wary. These could penalise those who have been off sick with Covid-19 and recovering. Or those who have been told to self-isolate by NHS and not leave their house.

If any of these health factors relate to age, gender, pregnancy, disability or reasonable adjustments, then organisations need to tread carefully.

Redundancy is becoming a consideration for businesses at this time. Employing our tips will help to ensure the process is both fair for the employee and protects the business from any challenge and potential non-compliance penalties.

Read our other blogs on Equality and Diversity:

How to Embrace Ramadan During Lockdown

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace