Importance of consulting on redundancy pool selection

Posted on July 11th, 2024

The employment tribunal (ET) case of Mr Z Valimulla v Al-Khair Foundation is a case that indicates the importance of consulting upon issues such as pool selection in a redundancy exercise at a time when it can actually make a difference to or influence the outcome.

Mr Valimulla challenged the dismissal, arguing that the redundancy process was unfair.


Mr Valimulla worked as a fundraiser for the Al-Khair Foundation before being dismissed on the grounds of redundancy in October 2020. Before his dismissal he had been placed on furlough due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

His role was based in the North-West. Three other employees performed similar roles in different locations, but when selecting employees for redundancy, the foundation placed Mr Valimulla in a ‘pool of one’, claiming his role was unique. This meant that the other employees were not part of the redundancy pool. Mr Valimulla claimed the decision to place him in a pool of one should have been consulted upon as part of the redundancy exercise.

ET decision

The ET ruled against Mr Valimulla and supported the foundation’s position that the redundancy was fair. The ET did not find any procedural irregularities in how the redundancy consultation process was handled or that he had been placed in a pool of one.

Appeal and EAT decision

Mr Valimulla appealed this decision to the employment appeal tribunal (EAT). He argued that the ET had failed to make sufficient factual findings about the fairness of the redundancy pool and that he was not properly consulted about being placed in a pool of one. There had been several consultation meetings as part of the process but not one about the pool selection.

The EAT agreed with these arguments, noting that the ET had not adequately considered whether the employer considered pool selection meaningfully and during a time when Mr Valimulla could have influenced the decision.


The case highlights the importance of engaging employees through transparent consultation to include pool selection. Being able to evidence that a pool of one is proper in the circumstances and considered as part of consultation will assist in avoiding claims of procedural unfairness.

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