4 December 2015: Redundancy, Interviews & Reasonable Adjustments
In a redundancy situation, many employers will put everyone at risk of redundancy, and then interview them all for the remaining positions, without considering earlier appraisals or performance assessments.
This came up in Waddingham v NHS Business Services Authority when a Tribunal upheld a claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments, brought by a disabled NHS employee who failed to achieve the required score in a competitive interview for an internal post.
Mr Waddingham was at risk of redundancy. He told the NHS he agreed to go ahead with the interview because the vacancy was only open for a short period, even though he was off sick due to cancer treatment. He didn’t get the job because his performance at interview was impaired by his condition.
The tribunal found that he should have been assessed for his suitability to the by taking into account existing performance reviews and appraisals from previous posts. A competitive interview was not necessary. However, the NHS did not need to lower the pass mark for him.
The NHS unsuccessfully argued ‘justification’ for the less favourable treatment. A more appropriate aim may be to appoint a person who could perform to the required standard.
The case reminds employers to be extra careful during redundancy in case any employees have disabilities under the Equality Act.
(Waddingham v NHS Business Services Authority ET 1804896/13; ET 1805624/13.)