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Selecting an appropriate pool in a redundancy situation

22 August 2012 #Employment

In the case of Wrexham Golf Co Ltd v Ingham the Employment Appeal Tribunal commented on the reasonableness of an employer making an employee redundant from a ‘pool of one’.

The employer club needed to make savings and decided that the role of club steward was no longer required, as the steward’s activities could be carried out by other members of staff. The tribunal found that the steward’s dismissal was unfair, finding that the employer did not act within the “range of reasonable responses” by not considering establishing a selection pool that included other employees. It also found that the employer had not considered the overlap between the work carried out by the steward and the other bar staff.

The employer’s appeal was allowed by the EAT, which confirmed that even where an employer does not consider the question of a pool, the decision to make one employee redundant will not necessarily be outside the range of reasonable responses. However, the EAT found that the tribunal should have asked itself, given the nature of the role of club steward, whether it was reasonable for the club not to consider developing a wider pool of employees. Having found that the employer did not consider doing so, the tribunal went on to reason that the dismissal was therefore unfair, which was criticised by the EAT.

In its judgment the EAT repeated that there is no legal requirement that a pool should be limited to employees doing the same or similar work. The question of how the pool should be defined is primarily a decision for the employer; the tribunal will question whether this was within the range of reasonable responses, not whether they would have thought it fairer to act in some other way.

The case was remitted to a fresh tribunal to apply the test correctly.

For more information on dealing with redundancy see Employmentbuddy`s Redundancy Factsheet.


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