Can employers include a reservist's role in a redundancy pool?
There is no automatic rule against making a reservist redundant, either while he or she is called out to serve or while he or she is working for the employer. However, s.17 of the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 makes it a criminal offence to dismiss a reservist (without his or her consent) when he or she is not called out, solely or mainly by reason of the fact that he or she might be called out. Therefore, an employee's membership of the reserve forces should not influence the redundancy selection decision.
Employees do not need the usual two years' qualifying service to claim unfair dismissal where the reason or principal reason for dismissal is the employee's reservist service.
Redundancy selection criteria should not unfairly disadvantage a reservist, for example by using attendance at work as a criterion and scoring employees for a period where the reservist was called out. This is more likely to make a reservist's dismissal unfair.
If an employer is considering making redundancies while a reservist is called out for duty, it should try to involve the reservist in the consultation process as far as possible. However, it should recognise that it may not be possible to consult the reservist at all if he or she is on active duty. Even if a reservist's role is made redundant while he or she is called out, the employer's duty to reinstate the reservist will still apply on his or her demobilisation. The employer must consider whether or not it is reasonable and practicable to reinstate him or her into an alternative role.