Thank you. Whether you have a case for unfair dismissal depends on whether the employer had a genuine reason to make you redundant and also if they followed a fair redundancy procedure.
The term 'redundancy' is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisation, workplace relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason satisfied the statutory definition of a redundancy, which can be found in The Employment Rights Act 1996:
1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed
2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites
3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind (this is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to actually disappear for them to be made redundant).
The third reason above creates the most challenges. Examples of when there is a reduced requirement to do work of a particular kind are:
- The same amount of work remains but fewer employees are needed to do it. This includes consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out certain jobs amongst existing employees).
- There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (both the work and the headcount shrink)
- There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall.
So as long as the employer can show that their situation fell within one of the accepted reasons for declaring a redundancy, the test will be satisfied and the focus then shifts on the remainder of the redundancy procedure. This would include what consultation took place, whether any suitable alternative employment was offered to those at risk and the general fairness of the redundancy procedure applied by the employer.
Whilst you mention that there is a possibility that your job will be replaced by others, if there is no evidence of that at this stage and the employer implements the changes more than 3 months after your dismissal, you would not be able to pursue this further because the claim for unfair dismissal must be made within these 3 months. So even if it eventually turns out that the redundancy was unfair but you could not confirm that until after the 3 months have passed, it would be too late to challenge it. So you must consider whether this is a possibility or not when you decide on whether to risk pursuing an unfair dismissal claim or take the compensation offered.
Also, if the settlement is agreed now it appears that the employer may be looking at offering you a settlement agreement to leave, in which case you would not be able to make a claim against them later on as you would be entering into a formal agreement where you promise not to claim against them in return for the compensation offered.
So whilst I cannot tell you whether to take the offer or not, you need to consider what evidence you have as to this being an unfair redundancy or the chances of such evidence coming out in the open within the initial 3 months of your dismissal as that would dictate your prospects of making a successful claim. You could also consider negotiating with them for an increased settlement, including a specific reference, so you receive something you are happy to walk away with.
Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you