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Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, answers the question:

“Is it fair for my employer to offer me a settlement agreement as an alternative to dismissing me for performance-related reasons?”

The question of whether it is ‘fair’ for your employer to offer you a settlement agreement is, almost exclusively, yes – there is generally no prejudice caused to an employee by the simple offering of a settlement agreement. The question here, therefore, seems to be: are the terms of settlement that my employer is offering me fair? An analysis of this question will invariably hinge upon two factors: one, the circumstances of the dismissal and, two, the terms of settlement that you are being offered.

The circumstances of your (potential) dismissal are relevant in order to assess the strength of your potential claim for unfair dismissal and, in turn, the reasonable value of your unfair dismissal claim – the higher the value of your unfair dismissal claim, the more ‘leverage’ that you will have in negotiations regarding a settlement agreement. If you are an employee and have sufficient continuous service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal (2 years from April 2012) your employer must, broadly, make a decision to dismiss you that is fair and undertake a fair procedure in dismissing you; if your employer does not take such steps then you may have a successful claim for unfair dismissal.

If your employer has concerns about your performance at work then it should generally take the following steps to dismiss you in order to avoid a successful unfair dismissal claim: any minor concerns should be dealt with through day-to-day management and, with regards to any formal concerns about your performance it must undertake an assessment to determine whether any formal capability procedure is necessary; it must (among other things) inform you of the reasons why it believes that you are allegedly underperforming; and allow you to comment on any alleged underperformance at a formal capability meeting. Your employer should also provide you with reasonable training to allow you to improve your performance, undertake regular reviews of your performance with you, and give you a reasonable time period in which to improve.

Your employer may, prior to the start of the capability process, during the capability process, or after the conclusion of the capability process, offer you what is known as a “settlement agreement”: this is a contract (regulated by statute) by which you generally agree not to pursue certain claims against your employer in return for various benefits (financial or otherwise). Whether the terms of the settlement agreement are fair must generally be measured by two considerations:

  1. Whether, from the perspective of your legal adviser, the value of the financial compensation and other terms of the agreement are reasonable, taking into account the circumstances of your case; and
  2. What you wish to derive from the settlement process

It you have been offered a settlement agreement and are researching whether what you have been offered is fair (and have therefore come upon this article) it is, unfortunately, not possible in this article to offer you advice on whether the terms of your specific settlement agreement are fair – it is advisable that you consult one of our solicitors (or indeed another firm of solicitors) in order to discuss the circumstances of your situation with them (your employer will normally offer to pay fees of between £350 plus VAT and £500 plus VAT for the purposes of you taking advice on the agreement). So, if you’ve been offered a settlement agreement get in touch with us by giving us a call on 020 3397 3603 or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk

 

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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    Testimonials

    4.77 Average

    217 Reviews

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 3 hours ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 1 day ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 3 days ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Cristina G

    Very professional and reliable. Timely answers, clear and to the point. Always looking for the best for their customers.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Rob T

    Very professional and on target - highly recommended.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Very efficient service and knowledgeable solicitors.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent response time from first contact. Quick and easy completion of documents required. Fast response to any queries I made.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 3 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago