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Wrc Held Unfair Selection For Redundancy As Employer Failed To Prove Criteria Justifying Keeping Employee With Less Service

Facts: The Respondent is an events company and because of sales underperformance, it suffered financial difficulties and had to reduce labour costs. The Respondent, in order to recover from the financial losses, has been using resources of sister company where possible, not back-filling the vacancies and processing selective redundancies.

The Complainant has just over one and half years of service with the Respondent and was made redundant, while a colleague with lesser service with the Respondent was retained. The Complainant claimed the personal animus between her and the new Managing Director and her request for salary increase has influenced her selection for redundancy.

The Respondent claimed that the Complainant was not selected because of her personal animus but because her role was identified as one that could be supressed.

Findings: The central issue of the complaint related to the fairness in the selection process for redundancy. The Adjudication Officer noted that some roles were supressed due to natural attrition and their duties were reassigned to the sister company. The Respondent decided to retain the relationship role and suppress the Complainant’s role.  Both roles were very similar and the person who held the relationship role had only been employed for eight months.

The Adjudication Officer noted that while the Respondent selected the Complainant for redundancy was because the Respondent wanted to present a confident external side to its clients and customers. However, there were no data to support the Respondent’s view that the employee with less service would meet this requirement over the Complainant. The Respondent had not demonstrated that the selection was impersonal.

Award: The Adjudication Officer awarded the Complainant €16,000 as compensation for financial loss, which lasted for 6 months, arising from being unfairly dismissed. Extraordinarily, the Adjudication Officer further clarified that this compensation would be in addition to any statutory, contractual and leave payments made to the Complainant on the termination of her employment.

Takeaway for the Employers: The Adjudication Officer, in this case, laid emphasis on the fact that the employer be able to prove that there is sufficient data to show that the selection process was properly applied and was impersonal.

Authors – Anne O’Connell & Chaitra Girish Mallya

28st May 2020

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2020/april/adj-00026252.html

Anne O’Connell

Solicitors

Fitzwilliam Hall

Fitzwilliam Place

Dublin 2

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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