Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of Department for Work and Pensions v Brindley UKEAT 0123_16_1711 the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) considered whether the wording of a COT3 agreement barred Mrs Brindley from bringing further proceedings against her employer, the DWP. The EAT held that, due to the particular nature of the COT3 wording, the settlement agreement did not bar Mrs Brindley from bringing the further proceedings.

The facts

On 14 July 2014 Mrs Brindley brought a claim against the DWP for discrimination arising on the grounds of her disability (“the First Claim”). The First Claim asserted that Mrs Brindley had been discriminated against by her being given a final written warning on 11 April 2014 for absence from work. Mrs Brindley’s case was that she had been denied the used of a disabled parking space after a reorganisation  and that the removal of the parking space had caused her stress, and that this stress had made her condition worse.

The Respondent contested Mrs Brindley’s claim and a COT3 form settling Mrs Brindley’s claim was entered into by the parties. This agreement was signed on 19 December 2014 by Mrs Brindley and on 31 December 2014 by the DWP, and was headed “Settlement reached on 11/12/2014 as a result of conciliation action”. Under clause 1 of the COT3 the DWP agreed to perform its obligations at clause 2 of the agreement if Mrs Brindley accepted the performance of those obligations in full and final settlement of: “…her claim against the Respondent currently before the London South Employment Tribunal under case number 2301290/2014 (“the Proceedings”) and all other Relevant Claims arising from the facts of the Proceedings up to and including the date this Agreement [sic].”

The “Relevant Claims” were defined as: “… claims related to the Claimant’s employment with the Respondent, whether at common law, under Statute, or pursuant to European Union law either against the Respondent, or any officer or employee of the Respondent including without limitation any claim relating to equal pay, discrimination, harassment, and claims under the Employment Rights Act 1996, or any other claim which might be made by the Claimant in relation to her employment to a court or tribunal provided that nothing herein contained shall affect the Claimant’s accrued pension entitlement or any claim for latent personal injury.”

On 8 June 2015 Mrs Brindley submitted a further Employment Tribunal claim (“the Second Claim”). The basis of the Second Claim was that she had been discriminated against by being given a final written warning for her attendance on December 2014.

The DWP submitted its response to the Second Claim on 10 July 2015. An amended version of this response was sent to the Tribunal on 19 November 2015. In the amended version of the response the DWP argued that the Second Claim was barred by the COT3 agreement dated 11 December 2014 and made an application for the Second Claim to be struck out.

On 22 December 2015 the Employment Tribunal concluded that it would not exercise discretion to strike out the Second Claim as, although the DWP had fulfiled its obligations in the December 2014 COT3 agreement, the COT3 agreement only stated that the claims being withdrawn were those claims “arising from the facts of [the First Claim]”. The Employment Judge noted that the First Claim related to car parking, reasonable adjustments, and the first final written warning given on 11 April 2014. The Second Claim related to a second final written warning given on 28 November 2014. The facts of the Second Claim did not therefore arise from the facts of the First Claim, meaning that Mrs Brindley was not barred from bringing the Second Claim.

The DWP appealed the decision of the Employment Tribunal, arguing principally that the factual matrix of the Second Claim arose from that of the First Claim as it related to attendance management, and that the Second Claim should therefore have been struck out. Mrs Brindley argued that the Employment Tribunal had been correct in its decision.

The EAT dismissed the appeal, holding that the Employment Judge had interpreted the December 2014 COT3 agreement correctly: the reasonable person would have interpreted from the wording of the contract that only facts arising from the First Claim were being settled by the COT3.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 1 month ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 1 month ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 1 month ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 10 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 11 months ago