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The Law Society has published guidance confirming that solicitors involved in drafting ‘non-disclosure agreements’ (“NDAs”) within employment settlement agreements (also known as ‘severance agreements’) must take into account the public interest if there is a conflict of principles.

The new guidance entitled “Non-disclosure Agreements and Confidentiality Clauses in an Employment Context” confirms that when drafting settlement agreements solicitors should, when taking instructions from clients and drafting the agreements, consider wider public policy issues of public interest if the agreement intends to prevent an employee from disclosing sensitive information (such as, for example, allegations of sexual harassment).

The publication of the guidance follows the controversy that emerged last year regarding firms of solicitors drafting settlement agreements that prevented the relevant employee from disclosing to third parties that they had been sexually harassed at work. It follows on from SRA guidance published last year warning solicitors about potential breaches of the SRA Code of Conduct that could result from failing to suitably take into account the public interest when drafting settlement agreements.

The Law Society’s guidance reminds solicitors that, when drafting settlement agreements, whether for the firm or for a client, they should consider whether any confidentiality clauses in the agreement are ‘appropriate and lawful’ clauses seeking to protect trade secrets or prevent the details of a dispute being made public or, alternatively, whether it seeks to prevent the employee from disclosing an ‘unlawful act’.

The guidance also confirms that “‘It is unlikely to be legitimate to ask a person to sign a [settlement agreement] in which they agree not to disclose an unlawful act that has not yet happened, as the chances of such an agreement being legally enforceable are slim.”

What is a settlement agreement? Our solicitors explain.

Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment department at Redmans, commented on the guidance: “Confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements serve an important purpose, in that they essentially ‘put a lid’ on the facts and circumstances of a potential or existing dispute between an employer and an employer. Although this guidance is welcome, the Employment Rights Act 1996 already prevents employers from seeking to ‘gag’ employees from disclosing certain types of behaviour in the workplace to the authorities, to their lawyer, or direct to the employer.”

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).

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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 6 days 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 6 days ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 week ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 1 week 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 3 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 3 weeks 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 3 weeks ago

Deepthi K

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

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 3 weeks ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 3 weeks 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 1 month ago

Shane M

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

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 1 month 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 1 month 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 9 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