What is a Settlement Agreement?
A Settlement Agreement (previously known as a “Compromise Agreement”) is a legally binding agreement following the termination of your employment.
Settlement agreements are often given to employees when they are being made redundant. However, they can also be offered to employees if an employer thinks they are performing badly in their job or are guilty of misconduct. In some cases, an employee will be aware that their boss is unhappy, while for others, being offered a settlement agreement can come as a shock.
Essentially, an employee is given money or severance pay in return for not bringing a claim against their employer. Each settlement agreement will vary but usually the documents will include clauses that deal with: the claims to be settled; the payments you will receive and the relevant tax issues; a confidentially/gagging clause (so you can’t bad mouth your employer) and any agreed reference from your employer. Once signed by both the employer and the employee and certified by an independent solicitor, a settlement agreement becomes legally binding.
How we can help
When you’re pulled into a meeting and asked to leave your job, it can be a shock. Later on, it can be hard to recall exactly what was said. The best advice is therefore to make a note about what happened and what was said as soon as possible. The next thing to do is get some decent advice. An employer will usually pay the legal costs for you to see a solicitor or qualified adviser independent of the employer as it is a legal requirement for the settlement agreement to be contractually binding on the employee.
An employment solicitor can help you consider whether you’re getting a good deal and whether you have any grounds for a claim against your employer – such as discrimination or unfair dismissal. If you’re facing a period of unemployment, you need to be able to meet your household living expenses until you get another job. One of the considerations you need to make is whether the money that is being offered is enough.
You need to consider why you are being offered the agreement and what rights you are being asked to waive as a result of you signing. Armed with this knowledge, you can often save legal costs by negotiating yourself directly with your employer and in our experience, you often end up with a better deal, which may include a bigger payment.
The employer will often insist that the settlement agreement be signed by a particular date, but you are not legally obliged to sign a settlement agreement and if you don’t sign the agreement, then your full employment rights are reserved for you to make a claim against your employer.
To see some typical terms of a settlement agreement and our advice on them, please click here.
Get in touch
Justin deals with all aspects of Dispute Resolution for both businesses and individuals, including Contentious Probate, Employment Law (for both businesses and individuals) and Commercial Litigation. This means that he is familiar with the many different courts and tribunal, as well as the many different methods for resolving disputes, including alternative dispute resolution such as adjudication and mediation.
When informed by your employer that your employment contract is to be terminated because of a restructuring and not through any fault of one’s own – and probably not knowing what to do or who to turn to - it’s a lonely, disorientating, and unsettling place to be - as anyone in a similar position reading this will fully understand. When this happened to me, I didn’t know who to turn to. But a colleague recommended Barrett and Co, and so I checked out the website and was impressed with what I read about Justin Sadler and his experience. Justin and his assistant were quick to respond to my inquiry, and a consultation call was set up which was extremely useful. Justin quickly grasped my situation and was able to provide me with sensible and pragmatic legal advice as well as a tactical approach on how to proceed, and very importantly - advice on how to best channel my feelings. I had a legal stalwart in my corner. In short, we achieved as good an outcome as was possible in the circumstances and I am very grateful to Justin for all his help and advice. If you need employment related legal advice - look no further than contacting Justin Sadler at Barrett and Co.
4th October 2021
In the run up to completion, Emma and her colleagues were taking very good care of us. Despite many challenges throughout the day, including a tricky chain + backlog in banking transactions, Emma was always on hand with a friendly word and answering our queries quickly and professionally etc.
1st October 2021
I have recently used Barrett and Co Solicitors for a multiple legal issues needing to be resolved and also creating a will. I found them to be very good and professional, the majority of the work being carried out by Juliette Spanner who has very knowledgeable, professional and courteous. From my experience I will be using them in the future again.
8th August 2021
There are so many positive things I would like to say about Barret & Co. For me to do that would take too long. I will say, however, that Barrett & Co provided a first class service that resulted in a very positive & successful outcome . The service we received was akin to the service you would expect from a large city solicitor. If you are looking for a professional efficient multi discipline solicitor ,then I strongly recommend that you look no further. Thank you Barrett & Co ,with a special thank you to Jane Whitfield, for all that you have done for us & for taking away all the worry.
4th August 2021
It is our first time to purchase a property in UK and we are not clear about the details and trick in the conveyancing process. We are lucky to have Piers and his team, Emma and Fatima to handle our case. Like everyone who want to complete the deal before the stamp duty holiday, we keep pushing the schedule. They are very responsive and patient to our enquiry. Instead of just "close the deal", they provide very professional advice to those critical issues on the tile. While protecting our interest in the legal point of view, they facilitate the process to meet the target schedule too. Piers' team did a amazing job. Highly recommend.
27th June 2021