04 May 2020
You have been offered a settlement agreement by your employer... but what does it mean? How will it affect you? And what do you need to know?
A settlement agreement is essentially a way for you and your employer to ‘part company’ on certain agreed terms.
Under the terms, you will waive (or give up) your right to bring any claims against your employer. Settlement agreements can also be used to terminate your employment and can settle an ongoing claim you are bringing in a court or employment tribunal.
Usually it contains some additional obligations, conditions for payment of termination payments and other termination arrangements.
It is a binding agreement, you won’t be able to bring any claims against your employer and you will normally have undertaken some post termination obligations (such as confidentiality).
You don’t have to sign it unless you agree, there is often scope for negotiating terms and ultimately you can refuse to sign and bring a claim instead.
Depending on the circumstances, your employer might be able to sack you fairly anyway. If you turn down the offer, you might not get a better one.
If you feel you’ve been treated badly, you could still bring a claim after turning down a settlement, but you might not be awarded as much money as you were offered initially.
Remember, the terms of a settlement must be agreed by both parties and a solicitor will be able to advise you about what would be reasonable in your circumstances.
Yes, a settlement agreement is only valid if you have taken independent legal advice as to its terms.
Although you are responsible for your solicitor’s fees, employers normally agree to make a contribution.
Depending on how much they offer to contribute and the complexity of advice you need, that may or may not be sufficient to cover all of your fees.
Aberdein Considine is a specialist in all aspects of Employment Law. We have offices in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Perth, Stirling and Glasgow.