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If you’ve been offered a settlement agreement by your employer then there’s a number of reasons why you should obtain specialist legal advice on your agreement – one of these being that your solicitor will have the expert knowledge needed to negotiate your settlement agreement. Employment law solicitor Chris Hadrill takes a look at how a settlement agreement should and can be negotiated, with some practical tips

What is a settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is a contract regulated by statute which allows for potential or existing legal proceedings (whether these are in the employment tribunal, county court, or high court) to be settled. If an employee signs a settlement agreement this normally means that they’re prevented from bringing any claims in the tribunal or court, whether the claim is for breach of contract, unfair dismissal, discrimination, failure to pay wages, or any other form of claim. Under the agreement, the employee will, however, be provided with some form of benefit for agreeing to waive their rights to bring such claims, with such benefit normally involving some form of monetary sum and the provision of a reference.

Do you have to sign your settlement agreement or can your negotiate it?

You certainly don’t have to sign your settlement agreement as it is and it is often (although not always) advisable that you push your employer (gently) to see how much you can potentially obtain from the negotiations. If you wish to negotiate your agreement then this can be done by one of two ways: you can either do it yourself or, alternatively, instruct a third party (such as a specialist employment solicitor) to do this for you. Which approach is best in the circumstances really depends upon a number of factors, such as the nature of your potential claims, whether you still have a good relationship with the management of the business, and whether you feel confident in doing so (among other things).

Tips and tactics for negotiating a settlement agreement

If you’re looking to negotiate your settlement agreement with your employer (or are looking to instruct a solicitor to do so for you), there are a number of helpful tactics and tips which might help you to get what you want. These include:

  1. Instructing a specialist solicitor to negotiate you or advise you on your claims – your employer will generally cover part – if not the whole – of the cost of doing so
  2. Research your potential claims and determine where your leverage is – if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing then your employer will take advantage of this
  3. Be aware that you potentially have a £30,000 tax-free allowance for your settlement agreement (depending upon the type of claims that are being settled) – take advantage of this if you can
  4. Bear in mind that there is a three months less one day limitation period for Employment Tribunal claims – if you miss this then you lose a great part of your leverage
  5. Employers often play ‘hard ball’ – don’t be intimidated if you get an aggressive response
  6. If you make a ‘counter-offer’ to your employer’s offer of the settlement agreement then your employer is entitled (potentially) to withdraw from negotiations – this isn’t likely but bear it in mind as a possibility

If you’ve got any further questions then please don’t hesitate to contact Chris Hadrill or one of our specialist employment team on 020 3397 3603

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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    Jonathan L

    The service I received was friendly and professional. I appreciated the timely communications and Mel was always available for any questions I had. I'd definitely recommend Redmans and will use them in a heartbeat should the situation arise again.

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    Fidel A

    Redmans Solicitors recently helped me navigate a recent employment termination settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill is very professional and you will be in good hands with him. I score Redmans 4 out of 5 because things had to move fast and felt the team member assigned to my case wasn't very responsive at times. Having said that, I was very happy with the outcome and have no hesitation in recommending their services.

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    I was made a settlement offer by my employer to terminate my emplyment early. Redmans helped me understand the offer, and ensured that it was fair for someone in my position. They made a very stressful situation much easier. Excellent service.

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    Anonymous

    I can highly recommend Redmans. The service was professional and prompt and I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks

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    Anonymous

    Overall I am satisfied with the performance from Redmans. The reason I have given 4 stars is that I had quite a lot difficulty in contacting the representative which was initially nominated for me. However, when I contacted Chris instead, he was excellent over the phone and secured a great outcome in short order. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors.

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    Anonymous

    Chris and Redmans were a great help. Effective and efficient, quick response from my first enquiry and then straightforward and attentive throughout with ultimately a positive outcome. I will use them again and recommend them.

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    Marie P

    Great service, quick responses, good advice and all in a no nonsense, no jargon manner. Would definitely recommend.

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    Anonymous

    I am extremely happy with the legal advice I was provided with. My case was resolved to the best of my expectations. Thank you very much for your professional help.

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    Shahzad R

    Chris and his team were excellent. They provided sound advice and consultation that resulted in more cash than was offered. Would definitely recommend.

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    Sanjay B

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel Chin, for all her support during my settlement process. Where she provided a professional service and was understanding. I would confidently recommend Redmans Solicitors to my friends and family. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

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    Excellent response time and communication during my dealings with Redmans

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    Gil T

    I don’t normally write reviews, but thought it was time on this occasion. Just wanted to say that I highly recommend Redmans - especially Rana Tandon, who helped me navigate around my employment contract. Rana was meticulous and thorough and all over my needs. Would I use Redmans again ? ..absolutely

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    Richard S

    Chris and Sacha were great throughout the entire process. Chris was very helpful once the initial discussions with my company began and before we agreed there was a case. Sacha was very responsive, patient and helpful throughout ensuring I felt I had the right information to make the best decision on next steps. A close friend and wife have both used Redmans in the past few years for unfair dismissals and the service continues to be first-class and I would strongly recommend them again. They definitely help reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty around new processes and situations. Thank you!

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    Very nice and patient went through the whole document with me.

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