“I have six technicians in the workshop but due to a drop in business, I have calculated that I can manage with four, can I choose which two technicians to remove? They have all been employed for several years but some are more problematic than others”
Due to their length of service, i.e. having more than two years’ continuity of employment, they all have employment law protection meaning if you simply choose without any objective criteria, it could risk a claim for unfair dismissal from the two who are dismissed.
Given you are overstaffed you would be looking at a redundancy situation as there will be a reduction in headcount. You would therefore need to consult with all the affected staff i.e. all six technicians, to ensure a fair procedure is followed. In terms of a fair procedure to follow, it would be a long the following lines:
Write to all the affected employees setting out the business reasons behind the proposal to reduce the department, explaining no final decisions have been made on whether or not to go ahead and explaining if it does go ahead, you propose to devise a matrix and consult with them on that before making any decisions. Set up individual meetings with them all in say at least 2-3 days’ time so you can listen to any suggestions, ideas or proposals they may have to avoid potential redundancy situation.
Hold the above meetings listening and genuinely consulting. If you decide to go ahead the next stage is for you to devise a matrix which you will score them. Try to make the matrix based on objective factors such as discipline record, performance, qualifications etc.
Next you consult with them on the proposed matrix and proposed weighting of that matrix (note you have not actually scored yet, you are simply consulting on the proposed categories for scoring). This again would take 2-3 days.
If there are no suggestions on the proposed matrix then ideally two managers go ahead and independently score those employees against the records.
The employees are then written to with their provisional scores. The employees with the highest scores can be told that the provisional scores mean they are not selected however you are consulting with the other employees so this may yet change.
The employees who have the lowest score are written to. They are invited to a meeting which the reasons for their scoring is explained and they can put forward representations before you make any final decisions. With the invite letter you can include a copy of their own scores but note they are not entitled to see the other employees’ scores. If you disclose all scores then make them anonymous e.g. employee A, employee B etc.
Hold the above meeting (again this meeting (as all) should be minuted) and listen to their comments/feedback and discuss as necessary.
After the employees’ representations make a final decision on their scores if they are still selected then write to them with the decision and the right of appeal.
Ideally there should be another equal or more senior company manager/director who is free to hear the appeal who has not been involved in the consultations above.
As the employees have more than two years’ service, they would qualify for a statutory redundancy payment as well as their notice period. The Government website has a redundancy calculator to help ascertain the correct redundancy payments.
The above is a broad overview of the procedure, if you are contemplating making redundancies, please telephone the RMIF legal advice line for further advice specific to your circumstances.