Settlement Agreement Employee Rights
There can be a number of reasons why you may be offered a settlement agreement by your workplace.
For employees it can be quite daunting trying to untangle the legal jargon contained within these kinds of documents. You want to ensure that you are getting a good deal and that your rights are not being infringed in any way.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
It’s a legal document setting out the terms and conditions of any settlement between an employer and an employee. The most common use for it is when someone is being made redundant. Here the settlement agreement is usually offered in exchange for a payment to the employee by the employer.
- An agreement will generally include the employee waiving their right to take the employer to court for unfair dismissal.
- In the case of redundancy, it may include not seeking to work for the company again for a specified period of time.
- These kinds of agreements are also offered if your employer believes you are not performing your job properly and wants to terminate your employment but wishes to avoid a tribunal.
- They can also be used to settle ongoing disputes, for example, over pay.
- The agreement is legally binding and often includes a confidentiality clause where you’re not allowed to talk about certain matters relating to the company.
What Are Your Employee Rights?
The first thing you should be aware of is that settlements agreements are voluntary. You do not have to sign if you do not want to. In the event of voluntary redundancy, an agreement is largely seen as a way of formalising the process and isn’t normally that much of an issue. If you are disputing something with the company you work for, however, you may want to negotiate the terms of the agreement before signing and seek legal advice.
- A settlement agreement must be presented to you in writing and relate to resolving the specific matter in hand.
- You should receive advice from an independent advisor or solicitor, who is properly insured, before you sign the agreement. In cases of redundancy, employers will often foot the bill for this as part of the settlement.
- The advisor needs to be noted in the agreement and the document should show that the statutory conditions of the settlement have been met.
- Your employer needs to give you enough time to consider the settlement agreement. In most cases, this is a minimum of 10 days.
You have the right to not sign the settlement agreement if you think there is a problem or if you want to go through other avenues. A case in point could be if you were considering wrongful dismissal and wanted to negotiate better terms.
Most settlement agreements are straight forward but there can be problems if one or other of the parties breaks the conditions of the document. An example would be that your employer promises to pay you a certain amount of redundancy and then doesn’t. If this is the case, the agreement gives you the legal backing to take your case to court for breach of contract.
With any settlement agreement, you will need legal support to look over any document and make sure that it is appropriate for your case. At Forster Dean, we have experienced legal teams on hand who can give you advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law. Contact us today to find out how we can help.