How do I know if I have been fairly selected for redundancy?

When a number of staff are being selected for redundancy, your employer must ensure that the basis for selection is fair and does not unfairly discriminate against you.

People cannot be chosen for redundancy on the basis of race, age, disability, gender, pregnancy/maternity, marriage/civil partnership, sexuality, religion, belief, or for being transgender.

People cannot be selected for redundancy for an automatically unfair reason. These include selection for redundancy where the reason is wholly or mainly:

  • membership of an independent trade union, accessing union services, or carrying out trade union activities at an appropriate time, including supporting trade union recognition;
  • being named on a blacklist;
  • taking part in the first 12 weeks of industrial action;
  • acting as a safety rep, raising health and safety concerns with your employer, participating in safety consultations, leaving or refusing to return to a place of safety in circumstances of serious and imminent danger, or taking other appropriate steps to protect yourself and others;
  • acting as an employee representative, or standing as a candidate for an employee representative;
  • acting as a pension scheme trustee;
  • taking or asking to take jury service;
  • whistleblowing;
  • pregnancy or childbirth, or taking maternity or any other statutory leave connected with parental rights;
  • asserting any statutory right, for example the right to a rest break;
  • asking to work flexibly or part-time;
  • exercising the right to be accompanied or acting as a companion;
  • exercising your right to object to working on a Sunday if you work in retail or betting;
  • asking to be paid the National Minimum Wage;
  • trying to enforce your rights to participate in pensions auto-enrolment;
  • breaching a contract term banning you from working for another employer (if you are a zero hours contract worker);
  • asserting equal treatment rights under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (if you are a directly employed temp worker);
  • having a spent conviction.

Often employers ask for volunteers and/or offer early retirement before considering compulsory redundancy. Some examples of criteria that can be used by an employer when making compulsory redundancies include:

  • skill and capability;
  • conduct records;
  • the type of work needed to be done by those remaining; and
  • length of service.

Allowances should be made for poorer performance, attendance and conduct connected with an individual's disability.

You should be told what factors have been used in the selection process. If not, you should ask, and if you are still not told, you should seek further advice.

If you are in a union, it may have agreed a redundancy procedure with your employer, so check with them that this has been followed.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.