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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49849
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I would like to ask your advice on my situation below. I

Customer Question

I would like to ask your advice on my situation below.
I am a Drilling Engineer in the Oil and Gas sector (North Sea) in a department of 14 people. We were informed about coming redundancy and 7 of us (including me) were shortlisted with a view to make redundant 3 people by the end of next week. Today I had a meeting with my HR and Ops manager where they explained very briefly, why and how I was selected and asked if I would consider transfer which did not feel like a real option and more like a tick-box exercise.
I work for the company for 14 years (in the UK since 2008, of which on a local contract since 2013). It is a large international organization and normally would pay significant redundancy packages. For some reason package they mentioned in todays meeting was nothing like I heard people were receiving before.
I also hold shares and options which if sold now will yield zero gain given current industry state.
It was felt by all people concerned that selection process was not carried out in a fair manner. Firstly evaluator’s wife was in the list of people at risk. We were told he did not evaluate her but we still fill he had conflict of interest when he was evaluating us. Secondly, alongside tenure and competence they had some vague criteria like Versatility/Multiskilling or teamwork which has a lot of room for interpretation. I never had an under-performing rating in my annual reviews, have a strong reputation and significant experience in a multitude of roles. I can hardly understand how they selected people and why the spared some and not others. The shortlist looks quite random to all of us.
In the first meeting we were told that they will individual interviews and after that will conduct rankings. In reality they did rankings, short listed candidates for redundancy and only then conducted the interviews. Person who did the rankings had no knowledge or dealings with any of us, our manager would have been a much better candidate to do the rankings but he was shortlisted with us so could not do that. So we ended up being evaluated by someone whose wife was among us, who doesn’t know us and did not even speak to us and on top of that used some questionable criteria.
My questions are below
1. Is there anything I can do to improve my ranking or its too late?
2. Can we disqualify evaluation method and process?
3. If I am selected for redundancy what is my best strategy?
Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you have any upcoming consultation meetings scheduled with the employer before the redundancies are due to go ahead?
Please note that due to the time I am unlikely to respond this evening as I am going offline shortly but will do so first thing in the morning, thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, i do. it is provisionally scheduled for next Monday. Tomorrow morning would be great! Thank you, Ben!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
No problem, will get back to you then, thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Good morning and thanks for your patience. When a redundancy situation arises, there is a legal obligation on an employer to ensure that it applies a fair method of selection when deciding on who is to be made redundant. The general requirement is that a fair and objective method should be applied.
The first step is identifying the pool of employees from which the selection will be made. Often that could be a particular job, a department, even a whole office. The employer only has to show that its choice of pool was within the range of reasonable responses. This could often be linked to the needs of the business, for example a need to reduce a particular expense linked to a team, outsourcing certain work, etc.
The general rules state that when deciding on the choice of pool, the employer should start by considering two questions, which will help them identify which employees should be included:
• Which particular kind of work is disappearing?
• Which employees perform the particular kind of work which is disappearing?
Once the pool has been established the employer has to decide how to select those employees which are to be made redundant. There are various ways of doing this and the more commonly used methods are:
• Scoring matrix based on various criteria (e.g. disciplinary record, attendance record, length of service, performance, etc.)
• Asking employees to re-apply for their jobs, or for any newly created jobs, with the unsuccessful ones being made redundant
Whichever method is going to be used, the employer must apply it fairly and objectively. The law is very clear that if this was challenged in a tribunal, the tribunal cannot substitute its own view as to what they believe the employer should have used as selection criteria. This means that the choice of criteria is entirely down to the employer and a tribunal can only decide if the chosen criteria have been applied fairly and objectively. For this to happen it must be based on objective evidence, such as appraisals, etc. basically some documentary evidence from which the scores can be backed up and cross-checked.
Unfair selection for redundancy could make the whole dismissal unfair so if there are concerns over the employer's methods of selection, this can be raised in the consultation meetings, in the redundancy meeting or as part of an appeal. So it is not too late to challenge your scores and identify any areas of concern. You have nothing to lose by asking the two criteria you mentioned to be removed but I am afraid the employer has the final say in this and whether they stay or go.
If you are made redundant then the first step is to appeal internally with the employer. If that is unsuccessful then all you can do is make a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal within 3 months of the termination of your employment. You could of course try and negotiate a settlement to avoid going down that route.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.