Labour Research April 2009

Law Queries


Q. The company is making redundancies and asked for 28 volunteers. Twenty employees volunteered but they were turned down. No reason was given. Are they allowed to refuse volunteers for redundancy?

A. One aspect is the rights of the volunteers. They probably cannot insist that they are accepted for redundancy unless the company’s original offer amounted to a contractual offer which was binding on the employer as soon as any employee accepted it.

The other aspect is the rights of employees who are selected for redundancy against their will, when volunteers could have been chosen instead. This could well be a ground for unfair dismissal. Employers are entitled not to choose volunteers, but they do need a good reason for this, for example, if they need to retain a skill mix.