Generally speaking, an employee’s position is redundant where the necessity for that work has significantly diminished or has disappeared altogether. More specifically, section 7(2) of the Redundancy Payments Acts states that there are five genuine grounds for redundancy, summarised below:
- Closure of the employer’s business, or its cessation in a particular location
- The disappearance of the employee’s job specifically
- A reduction in the numbers of the workforce overall
- The replacement of the employee by someone who can also do the work in a manner “for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified or trained”
- The replacement of the employee by someone who can also do other work for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified/trained
Employers should note from the above the crucial point that redundancy solely relates to the role and not the individual. Thus an employee cannot be made redundant on the basis of some personality clash, misconduct issue or competency issue and may only occur where the employee’s specific situation falls within one of the categories above.