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HR tip: Redundancy – bumping


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

"We do not have many visitors so we are getting rid of the receptionist post and leaving a list of telephone extensions for visitors to ring, in the reception area. The receptionist has been with us for 10 years, undertakes a variety of clerical work and, in fact, spends most of her time typing. We would like to move her physically into our sales office and dismiss as redundant a typist who has been with us just over a year. However, we are told that this is unlawful as the sales typing job is not redundant. How do we stand?"

HR tip:
You need to be aware that it is not jobs but employees who are redundant. Abolition of a post does mean that the job holder is automatically redundant. You need to make a fair selection. Were you to apply a 'last in, first out' policy, the action you propose would seem fair.

However, that method of selection is likely these days to fall foul of age discrimination legislation. Instead you should do a 'value to the business' analysis on the pool of people in the clerical area where the ex-receptionist could be employed. Identify the relevant factors, such as skill and flexibility, weight each according to their relative importance, then have at least two managers mark each employee against each factor. The employee with the lowest score is then the one whose job is at risk, and you must apply the appropriate redundancy process, including individual consultation and opportunity to appeal.

Dismissing someone as redundant although someone else's job has disappeared is called 'bumping' and is perfectly legitimate provided an appropriate selection process has been used.

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