If you are simply closing down a section of your business, so that all the employees within that section will be made redundant, then you will not need to go through a selection process. You should still consult with the employees involved. Otherwise you will need to decide how you will select the employees that are to be made redundant.
An Employment Tribunal will expect an employer to look at a situation and say to themselves, "I need to cut the workforce of ten down to eight." It may be from anywhere in the company, or from a particular area. The employer should then apply objective judgement to decide who should go, and consult with those who are affected.
Remember that mistakes can also be made if employers get nervous. They can find it embarrassing to have to make someone redundant, especially in a small business where everyone knows each other. Trying to get it over with as quickly as possible can lead to not going through the correct procedure, and mistakes being made.
So what is the correct procedure?
The selection criteria have to be objective, based on factors that can be measured and proved. They should also be designed so that you end up with the best workforce at the end of the day, since if you're making redundancies to cope with an economic downturn, you'll need to retain the staff that will give you the best chance of keeping the company going.
Steps to selection
Identify the job category and the number of redundancies necessary ie. three serving staff, two sales executives
Identify all the employees who fall within that category – this is called the pool
Select clear and objective criteria in order to determine which employees are to be made redundant from the pool. Criteria can include:
length of service
ability, skills or qualifications
conduct or attendance (taking into account any reasons for poor records)
Automatically unfair reasons for dismissal include:
because of race, sex, disability or age
because a woman is pregnant
because an employee is or is not a member of a trade union