Compromise, Settlement or Retirement Agreements
The rise in litigation against employers in recent years has seen a subsequent increase in the use of “settlement agreements” (formally known as “compromise agreements”). The purpose of these documents is to curb the employees’ rights to litigate against the employer post termination of employment contract. Employers know that typically, many employees simply will not bring an action against the employer during the term of employment, this “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” attitude is of course lost when the employer forces redundancy or disciplinary action on its staff.
The agreement is really a sort of contract and it should be looked at that way. The agreement must be in writing and usually takes the form of a list of prohibitions following termination. The employer should offer a full financial incentive for the employee’s compliance, this is likely to be similar or even in excess of a redundancy payment, however, in return the employee waives statutory entitlement to bring an action for unfair dismissal, discrimination or redundancy payments. Usually, though, not always, the agreement will also attempt to restrict or remove entitlement to bring actions for industrial disease or personal injury. There is some argument over whether an employee can or cannot waive entitlement to future claims that s/he has no current knowledge of, however, it is certainly the case that any current claims or those which are clearly in contemplation can be waived absolutely.
In some agreements, there is also a clause effectively preventing communication of the agreement terms and over the sensitive data that the employee may have been exposed to as an employee (usually referred to as a gagging clause).
In order for the agreement to be completely valid, the employee will need to demonstrate that they have received independent legal advice, from a fully qualified legal advisor (usually only a fully indemnified Solicitor is mentioned in the agreement). Applebys Employment Solicitors will review the agreement with you in light of your particular circumstances and your potential entitlements (not just the ones you have been offered). There will be some discussion surrounding your options and your wishes (most people will want to comprise or are prepared too if the terms are correct). Once you have received full advice, if you wish to proceed then we will complete all the relevant certification paperwork for you.
We offer this service on a fixed fee of £275.00 plus vat. This is almost always invoiced to the employer and we find that most employers will pay this completely and in full for you, other employers will make a substantial contribution. Applebys fixed fee service for compromise and or settlement agreements is entirely dependent on you visiting our offices in West Yorkshire (We are an easy find from either Leeds Bradford Airport or Bradford City Centre).
We don’t offer this service unless there is a full face to face unhurried and untimed interview. We need to do this so we can assess you, your full situation and your attitude toward towards the settlement.
We have ample free parking and we can usually offer appointments that fit in with your schedule.
Contact us today to make an appointment.