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Letting staff go - The easy choices are not always the right ones

Mar 11, 2024
A photo of an older employee

Put yourself in the shoes of this business owner:

They’re not as profitable as they’d like to be, and they’ve identified an area of the business where they can trim some fat.

Specifically, they’ve got four people, all doing the same role and, having analysed output, they know they can get the same work out of three people, without changing anything else.

So one of the four needs to go.

The question is: who?

Three of them are largely similar in profile – similar age, similar experience, similar length of service.

The other?  Quite a bit older, part-time and with the company for a long time.

It makes sense to say farewell to the oldest one, right?  After all, she’ll probably retire soon anyway. 

Plus, she’s part-time, so it’ll be easier to adjust to her not being around.  So, the plan is simply to take her aside, have a chat and put her out to pasture.

Think again!



Spoiler alert, this is a real scenario, and thankfully the client in question decided to sense check their approach with us before doing anything.

When making people redundant, you HAVE to go through a proper selection process, where you score workers on a range of criteria, in order to get the fairest result.

In this case, there were several factors that would have made them sitting ducks in every employment-tribunal:

  • Part-time discrimination
  • Age discrimination
  • Unfair dismissal

Employers are always welcome to leap before they look, but just be prepared to get your chequebook out if you do.


Do you need help with your people management?

Whether you’ve got a specific HR query, you need your HR foundations in place, or you’re looking to build on those foundations and create a team that can function without you, we’d love to talk about how we can help you make it happen.

Give us a call on 01980 622167, or click below to book a call.

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