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Unfair Dismissal and Redundancy Selection

The recent case of Izabela  Duszkiewicz v Gategourmet Dublin ADJ-00031273 is a useful decision as it summarises the legality of key aspects of a selection matrix or procedure as part of a redundancy process.

In this case the complainant’s role was made redundant as a result of the severe impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the airline industry.

The complainant disputed that a proper selection procedure had been followed and in particular that she had been unfairly selected as a result of a selection matrix. As part of her argument, she alleged that many of the selection criteria were “subjective” and

The Workplace Relations Commission disagreed that the selection criteria was unfair and did not accept that “in order to avoid subjectivity there can be no element of human decision making involved”. It found that “in the ordinary world of today the legal requirement is that there should be fair system which removes arbitrary or discretionary decision making as much as possible. This then requires decision makers to locate their decisions within a fair framework that properly identifies the relative skill sets of those being selected”

 The complainant’s manager had also used personal knowledge of the complainant in applying the selection criteria and the Workplace Relations Commission found that her manager was entitled to do so “….unless it results in irrational or perverse conclusions”.

This case demonstrates that an employer should be very careful when creating a selection matrix in assessing employees for redundancy and that any criteria used should be fair, open, transparent and as objective as possible. This however does not mean that there cannot be a level of human or personal input once this input is not obviously biased or used as a reason simply to get rid of an employee. All selection criteria must be capable of being tested and challenged at all levels and employers should always prepare and test a selection matrix on the basis it could be presented before the Workplace Relations Commission.

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