Redundancy and the use of competitive interview processes
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in Gwynedd Council v Barratt that it is possible to use an interview process when considering redundant employees for alternative employment, particularly when the applications are not for the same or a substantially similar role.
The claimants were teachers who, following a reorganisation of school services, were made redundant. Instead of using a scoring process, the employers used an interview process to consider applications for alternative employment. In effect the claimants were applying for their former jobs in a new school on the site of their former school. The employer did not offer any consultation over the proposals, or an appeal against the decision to dismiss.
The EAT held that the tribunal had been entitled to find that the process used by the employer was unfair, however it made a distinction between a redundancy process where employees were considered for alternative jobs using a "forward looking" selection process (i.e. by competitive interview for a new post), and a process of consultation and selection. In this case the claimants were effectively asked to apply for the same or substantially the same job, rather than a new post. The exercise was closer to a selection process from within a pool. As the claimants were effectively being asked to apply for their own jobs the tribunal had been right to find that this, together with the lack or consultation or appeal, was unfair.
Take note: Following the decision in Barratt it's clear that it's possible to take a "forward looking" approach by using a competitive interview process when considering redundant employees for alternative employment, however it's not possible to ask employees to effectively apply for their own jobs.