Question: Can I Make My Employee’s Position Redundant if Other Employees Are Still Employed in the Same or Similar Role?Answer:
A genuine employee redundancy happens when the job is no longer necessary or practicable. The business does not require any employee to perform the work or the role.
For example, a redundancy might occur when:
- a machine is now available to do the job previously performed by the employee;
- the employer’s business is experiencing a downturn and therefore the employer only needs three people to do a particular task or duty instead of five people;
- the employer restructure their business to improve efficiency and distributes the tasks done by a particular employee between several other employees;
- a site or business closure;
- the completion of a project; or
When Only One Employee’s Position Becomes Redundant
This becomes complicated when an employer feels that an employee’s role is no longer required but other employees undertake the same or similar tasks. For example, as the employer, you might be a startup with a team of three software developers. However, you only wish to make one position redundant.
It is important to be clear that in the process of redundancy, it is the employee’s position and not the employee that is being made redundant. Helpfully, the courts have come up with factors for consideration when determining whether the position has become redundant.
Showing a Genuine Employee Redundancy
Specifically, to establish a genuine redundancy, an employer needs to consider whether the holder of the position has, after the re-organisation or change in circumstances, any duties left to discharge. If the business no longer requires that particular function, then the position has become redundant.
Normally, when a position becomes genuinely redundant, the process for choosing that position is irrelevant when considering the fairness of a dismissal or whether the redundancy was genuine. This only changes when one of out of several similar positions becomes redundant.
In circumstances where only one out of a number of positions becomes redundant, the business must show a lawful, logical and sound selection process in deciding why that particular position is redundant, as opposed to the other positions. The business should not need the position anymore and be unable to find another position for the employee.