I Have Been Given a Settlement Agreement, What Should I Do?
30 December 2015
If you are in discussion with your current employer about a Settlement Agreement, this usually means something has gone wrong in the employer/employee relationship. If they have offered you a Settlement Agreement they want you to leave, but have concerns that if they dismiss you, they may be exposed to a potential Employment Tribunal Claim. Alternatively, you may have requested a Settlement Agreement because it is your preference to bring your employment to an end.
It is vital that you get specialist advice from a Settlement Agreement Solicitor on the terms of your Settlement Agreement and the financial settlement being offered – it is a legal requirement that you have received legal advice on the terms of the Settlement Agreement to ensure that you are completely clear about what the terms of the agreement are, what you are being offered and the impact the Settlement Agreement will have on your ability to pursue any claims against your employer.
In England and Wales your employer will usually pay your legal fees when you are taking advice on your Settlement Agreement and this will be written into the agreement. Employers normally agree to pay a minimum of £250 plus VAT to review the Settlement Agreement.
Our Settlement Agreement Solicitors will agree a fixed fee to review the document and offer you advice on the meaning and effect of each term of the agreement.
For a separate fee we can also provide you with legal advice on the prospects of any potential claims you may have. This will help you to establish if you have reasonable grounds to negotiate more beneficial terms. Having an experienced Employment Solicitor on your side to advise you and negotiate for you is advantageous as we can help you to negotiate improved terms for your Settlement Agreement. This can include obtaining more money in the settlement, an agreed reference to take with you when you are looking for a new job and other proposals that may be advantageous to you.
You should be aware that you do not have to agree to enter into a Settlement Agreement, or in fact to even discuss one with your employer but it may be in your best interests to do so. If your employer has concerns about your conduct or capability then entering into a Settlement Agreement would avoid the possibility of needing to face disciplinary action or performance management measures. Entering into a Settlement Agreement provides you with certainty and is a less risky, costly and time consuming option than pursuing your employer in an Employment Tribunal.
If you do decide to enter into a Settlement Agreement, you will give up the right to take your employer to an Employment Tribunal. It is really important therefore to protect yourself and ensure that by signing a Settlement Agreement you are not accepting a lesser financial award than is reasonable in your circumstances.
By taking advice from a Settlement Agreement Solicitor as early on in the process as possible, you can understand exactly where you stand before you enter into negotiations.
We offer a fixed fee for reviewing your Settlement Agreement and providing you with strategic guidance on it. If you would also like us to provide you with advice on the reasonableness of the financial compensation offered or renegotiate the terms of your Settlement Agreement on your behalf, we can help.