If your employer chooses to select people for redundancy because they have been on furlough, the process they used to select employees for furlough would need to meet the standards for redundancy selection.
There is also a possibility that the policy could be indirect discrimination
. Some companies placed employees on furlough while they were shielding or to help with their caring or parental duties during lockdown. In these cases, selecting candidates for redundancy because they were furloughed could unfairly affect disabled workers, workers who care for disabled people, and female workers (as more women were furloughed than men
), giving grounds for a disability or sex discrimination claim.
Similarly, basing redundancy selection on factors such as unpaid leave, sick days, flexibility or productivity during the pandemic could risk indirect discrimination, as these criteria are more likely to affect certain groups of people.
Although there is no rule that employers can’t use furlough as a ground for redundancy selection, it does increase the chance that you have a legal claim. Get in touch for advice on your specific case.