On reading a number of differing views on this subject, I’m interested to learn what my HR and legal colleagues do and what they consider to be the ‘pros and cons’ of including the right of appeal against a redundancy dismissal.
Whilst you could argue that it’s good practice to always allow an appeal if someone has been dismissed for any reason, an appeal against redundancy can be more complex. It could have the impact of reversing a decision for anyone involved in a selection pool or has perhaps been redeployed over another colleague.
There may be a few ways around this, such as confirming decisions subject to appeal, but this can create continuing uncertainty for people – and then what if you get into a situation where someone else is made redundant as the result of an appeal and then they themselves appeal?
The pros of an appeal
Having the right to appeal allows you to find out early on if there are any issues those made redundant may raise about procedure or process. It may give you the ability to correct an error or issue, you may opt to offer a settlement, or it may just give you a second chance at explaining the business case and process.
This gives you the opportunity to respond to any allegations made and consider any risk attached. It also hopefully gives you the opportunity to end the process internally, without the employee airing their allegations or grievances to ACAS and subsequently a tribunal.
The cons of an appeal
With a stand-alone role (where no one else is doing a similar job) the impact on others may be minimal. If they are successful with an appeal, they may get reinstated and no one else is affected (unless they are bumping a more junior position as a result).
With a selection pool however, you should have already consulted on the selection criteria and shared scores with individuals during consultation. This allows everyone to share their thoughts and suggestions about selection individually, usually prior to selection being carried out, then their own individual scores shared so that they can raise any concerns or queries before final decisions are made.
In this case, would offering an appeal simply complicate matters?
In our experience, mostly people do not raise anything new at appeal and they want a rehearing of any issues raised during consultation process. Whilst it would be hugely beneficial to know in advance of any process issues or allegations of discrimination, if you’ve already confirmed others in their new role, even if it has been subject to appeals, does this create a greater risk and complications than not offering an appeal at all?