Don’t Just Sign Your Settlement Agreement…Please!
So many of my clients believe that once they have received a Settlement Agreement from their employer, they have no choice but to sign it. This is just not true and in many cases I am able to help my clients improve their deal. Read on for more information about how….
The Starting Point
As you may have read in my previous blogs, a Settlement Agreement is a legal contract between an employer and an employee. There are lots of reasons why a Settlement Agreement may be offered to an employee. It could be offered to give an enhanced redundancy payment, to resolve a grievance or misconduct dispute or even at the request of the employee.
Whatever the reason for the Agreement, the important thing to remember is that once it is signed off by the employee and their independent legal advisor, the employee will be forbidden from pursuing various employment law claims against the employer.
The starting point is therefore that you as the employee are giving the employer a great deal of peace of mind that you will not pursue any employment law claims against them. In my view, this needs to be recognised and compensated.
Compensation. As I say above, once an employee has signed their Settlement Agreement, they are barred from pursuing employment law claims against the employer. For this reason, it is massively important that an appropriate and fair amount of compensation is being paid. I always take the time to assess what potential claims the employee has, what compensation an Employment Tribunal would be likely to award for those claims, and give advice on what a reasonable level of compensation to accept would be.
My clients are under no obligation to follow my advice and I recognise there can often be very good reasons to sign an Agreement that does not include a large sum of compensation. The important thing is that my clients understand what they are signing before any deal is concluded.
The waiver of claims. The waiver of claims is the list of claims the employee gives up once the Agreement is signed and again, the employee needs to be aware of how wide ranging this is. Usually there are no issues. However, and by way of example, if the employee has an existing personal injury claim they want to pursue, it is important the Agreement takes that into account.
Future restrictions. Employers tend to want to include various restrictions in Settlement Agreements, such as that the employee will not work for a competitor or has not already obtained new work. These restrictions may well be fair, but it is always important to check the facts and limitations with clients to ensure they can abide by them.
Certainly in the present climate, with some employees remaining on furlough, these issues need carefully reviewing before Agreements are signed off.
My Recent Feedback
Over the last few weeks I have been lucky to receive some lovely feedback from a number of my Settlement Agreement clients (see below), and I want to help you.
- “Sophie helped me understand and sharpen up the settlement agreement, and secure the best possible deal…she was amazing”
- “Sophie is fantastic. You can’t go wrong with her. She is a good listener. She asked for more details to understand the case better. She offered sound advice based on the case”
- “Great communication and empathy in dealing with my redundancy”
I Can Help You
If you have been offered a Settlement Agreement or have any employment law problems, I can help. Please call me on 01522 440512, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.lincslaw.co.uk for more information about the services we provide. Alternatively, you can view our settlement agreement pages at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/settlement-agreement/
Director, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
DDI: 01522 440512 / Email: email@example.com