Do I Need to Accept a Settlement Agreement?
If your employer has offered you a settlement agreement, you may be wondering whether you have to accept what is on offer. It is a legal requirement that you receive independent legal advice on the terms and effect on you of the settlement agreement.
If your employer has offered you a settlement agreement, you may be wondering whether you have to accept what is on offer. It is a legal requirement that you receive independent legal advice on the terms and effect on you of the settlement agreement. As part of the review we will discuss any employment law issues such as potential claims. If the departure is amicable, we can focus just on the terms. We will help you decide whether to accept the agreement. Within the fixed fee service, we will enter reasonable negotiations on your behalf.
The key issues are:
- If you have a claim, how strong is it?
- Your career and getting another job
- The costs and risks of litigation
- The advantages of settlement (e.g. tax, speed of payment, no legal costs and peace of mind)
If you have been offered a settlement agreement, speak to our specialist solicitors. We will guide you through the process and ensure that you get the best offer for your circumstances. Call today on 0207 247 7190 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you right away.
What are my options after being offered a settlement agreement?
Our lawyers will advise you clearly on your options after being offered a settlement agreement. There are really three choices:
Accept the agreement
There are several advantages of accepting the agreement. They include closure, a clear structure for finding new work, no legal costs and of course, if you find a job quickly, then you may be much better off. This will normally bring your leaving date forward or sometimes you may be put on ‘garden leave’.
Negotiate the terms
Things to think about include:
- Do you have 2 years of continuous employment? Without this you cannot bring an unfair dismissal claim. The Employment Rights Act 1996 is very clear about this.
- If you do not have 2 years’ employment, you would need a discrimination or whistleblowing type claim in which case we would need clear information about the dates when events took place. You would need evidence to support these types of claims.
- If you have a potential claim, how strong are the merits?
- How long will it take you to find another job? With low unemployment at present, this may only take a few weeks or months. The main part of compensation payments is future lost earnings and if you could a job in 2 months for example, your losses would be capped at 2 months’ net pay.
- The statutory cap on compensation is just over £80,000.
Generally, it is better to negotiate from a goodwill point of view (rather than threatening legal proceedings) with a reasonable counterproposal. A sensible way to look at this is ‘pain to gain’- what will you have to put into a dispute and what will you get back? Then compare that with what is on offer.
You can find more information on our webpage ‘what should be included in a settlement agreement’
Reject the agreement
If you have a strong case and your employer is unwilling to negotiate, you can decide, with the benefit of our advice, if you want to reject the agreement. You will then maintain your right to bring a claim against your employer firstly by lodging a form with ACAS (this must be done within 3 months of the incident or dismissal) and ultimately in an Employment Tribunal.
Contact our specialist settlement agreement Solicitors Canary Wharf, London, Birmingham, Manchester & Preston
All we need is a copy of the agreement, your phone number and the relevant contact at your employer (normally in Human Resources), and we can start straightaway.