It is common and accepted practice during a redundancy process for the employer to undertake a selection exercise based on a points system. Points are usually awarded to the employees in the redundancy pool based on mixed criteria such as performance, qualifications, disciplinary record, attendance and length of service, with the employee who receives the lowest score being selected for redundancy.

In the recent case of Dabson v David Cover & Sons UKEAT/0374/10/SM the question for the Employment Appeal Tribunal was whether, in evaluating the fairness of a redundancy selection, the points which had been awarded by the employer should be investigated by the Tribunal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s view was that such investigation should only be carried out by a Tribunal in exceptional circumstances such as where there is “an absence of good faith or obvious error”.

This judgement is in line with the general principal that Tribunals should not concern themselves to any great extent with how scores are arrived at. On the other hand, of course, employers should not apply criteria in a redundancy process which they would not feel able to justify if the necessity arose. Criteria should always be as objective as possible or capable of being backed up with evidence (e.g. performance mark could be backed up with reference to an annual performance appraisal).