Being presented with a Settlement Agreement can be a stressful experience. Many employees have never received a Settlement Agreement and for many it may be the only time they receive one in their working lives. For others, it may come as a welcome relief. Whichever it might be, it is essential that you obtain independent legal advice as to the terms and effect of the Settlement Agreement.
When a Settlement Agreement might be issued
A Settlement Agreement may be presented to you for any number of reasons. Your employer may be in the process of making redundancies or restructuring and might offer the opportunity of voluntary redundancy. It may be that you have an ongoing dispute with your employer and a Settlement Agreement has been presented as possible means to settle the dispute.
Whatever the circumstances of your matter, we are able to provide sound advice on the meaning of terms of a Settlement Agreement and the implications of entering into such an agreement.
Content of a Settlement Agreement
A Settlement Agreement in essence sets out the terms upon which your employment with the employer will be terminated.
Provisions will usually be made for the amount of money that will be paid to you and any benefits that you may receive in exchange for the settlement of most, if not all, of the legal claims you have or might have against your employer.
A Settlement Agreement also deals with such matters as the requirement for both you and the employer to keep the Settlement Agreement confidential and for you to return all property belonging to the employer.
Completing the Settlement Agreement
Once you have received a Settlement Agreement you should obtain advice as soon as possible. The terms set out in the agreement may be open for a limited period of time after which the offer of a Settlement Agreement may be withdrawn.
We will consider the terms contained within your Settlement Agreement with a view to preparing for a meeting with you. At the meeting with you we explain the meaning of the terms of the Settlement Agreement and their effect and the implications of entering into a Settlement Agreement.
Once you are happy to enter into the Settlement Agreement you sign the document and we are then able to provide a signed solicitors certificate confirming the terms and effect of the Settlement Agreement have been explained to you.
In some instances it may be the case that you do not agree with some of the terms or that the terms need amending to reflect your circumstances. If so, we can deal directly with your employer in agreeing the final draft of Settlement Agreement.
Alternatively, it may be the case that you are unhappy with the terms of the settlement. We are able to negotiate on your behalf with your employer for improved terms of settlement, should you wish us to do so.
It is usually a term of the Settlement Agreement that your employer contributes to the payment of your legal fees. Once you have entered into the Settlement Agreement we would simply ask your employer to pay the legal fees they have agreed to pay as set out in the Settlement Agreement. Accordingly, in most cases instructing us will not cost you anything.
To arrange an appointment to discuss matters pertaining to Settlement Agreements, please contact our employment legal team.