An issue which comes up fairly regularly in redundancy selection is whether employers must consider all employees in similar roles or whether they can opt for a "pool of one".
The claimant in Prince v Groundwork Wrexham & Flintshire was dismissed for redundancy from her senior management post as part of a restructuring, necessitated by her employer's financial problems.
The Executive Director had produced a restructuring plan based on the conclusion that the employers had too many managers and insufficient staff actually delivering their services. The plan involved the reduction of four management posts to two. Four employees, including the claimant, were identified as potentially redundant and, under the proposed new structure, the claimant's post was no longer present. The claimant produced her own document suggesting an alternative way forward but the Executive Director's plan was agreed by the Board and the claimant was made redundant.
The claimant argued that the employer should have had a selection pool of a minimum of the four managers, based on the argument that the pool should include all those employees carrying out the same work as her (and possibly widened to include those with similar or interchangeable skills). But the EAT, upholding the Tribunal's rejection of her unfair dismissal claim, found that although the employer could have taken this approach, it was also open to it, on the facts, to proceed on the basis of a pool of one. The claimant's job was not the same as the others – she was effectively number two in a hierarchy and her post was being deleted.
The case is confirmation of the principle that the "range of reasonable responses" test applies to an employer's decision on redundancy pools and if the employer has "genuinely applied its mind" to the issue of who should be in the pool, it will be difficult, although not impossible, for an employee to challenge it. But it is always advisable at least to consider whether to have a selection pool (and essential if there are other employees whose roles could be described as similar).