The redundancy process
can be a difficult time for your business, so it is understandable that employers make mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can be very costly.
During the process, you are required to consult with your staff during the redundancy process. If you have employees who are off work on maternity or leave, or for leave relating to a disability, it is important to include them in consultations. Failing to do so could be discrimination, as it could be argued that they have been excluded from consultation because of their maternity or disability.
The law prohibits the use of protected characteristics when selecting candidates for redundancy. You must also avoid a selection criteria that indirectly discriminates against those with a protected characteristic. For example, choosing candidates for redundancy based on the amount of sick leave they have taken would likely impact on disabled employees who may have more medical issues. You may make reasonable adjustments to the criteria, such as ignoring absences due to disability or pregnancy.
If offering voluntary redundancy, you should avoid this being linked to protected characteristics. For example, offering voluntary redundancy to older employees before the rest of your staff could lead to age discrimination claims. If you have suitable and appropriate alternative employment, the law says this must be offered to women on maternity leave before other employees.
A poorly thought out or mis-applied procedure could lead to discrimination claims. An employment law solicitor will be able to advise on a legal procedure to avoid discriminatory redundancy.