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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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

    268 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 1 month ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 month ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 1 month ago