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RSI: employer trying to exclude liability.

(22 Posts)
Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:22:42

Hello, I'm hoping some wise people can help me with a decision.

I'm about to leave my job (amicably: I'm bored and told my manager that I'd be looking for something else this year, my replacement is now up to speed so I've been offered a good settlement to leave before I've found a new role).

Unconnected to this, I developed RSI last year from a badly adjusted workstation. My employer never carried out a DSE assessment. I've been in pain for 6 months, although I got an adapted mouse and keyboard in December. The damage was done though, so I've had a steroid injection this month which has only been partly successful.

The draft settlement agreement states that by accepting the pay-off I agree not to make any claims against my employer for personal injury etc. for any condition I have now. I work for a FTSE company, not a small family concern.

I'm not bothered about being compensated for the sore wrist I have now - I haven't suffered any loss currently - but if it doesn't improve and I'm not able to carry on using a mouse and keyboard, I won't be able to carry on in my career (finance). The chances of this happening are small but I can't rule it out.

I'm seeing a solicitor tomorrow, to review the draft settlement agreement. He says that it is usual for a settlement agreement to exclude liability for all claims, under employment law (which I'd expect) or otherwise, for things you know about at the leaving date, e.g. work-related injuries, (which I didn't expect).

Do I try to get the settlement agreement changed, which means that the financial settlement (currently 'without prejudice') might end up being worse, or the offer might be withdrawn, or do I just suck it up?

Albadross Tue 04-Apr-17 19:24:46

I'd go with the legal advice - surely the solicitor can push back on this clause if it's not the done thing?

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:26:48

Thanks. Just worried that the pushing back will cause my employer to withdraw the offer or make it less attractive.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:27:22

And according to him (the solicitor) it is the done thing, which surprised me!

Fauxgina Tue 04-Apr-17 19:33:08

I would have thought it's very common. They won't want to give you money and also give you money again at a later date.

goose1964 Tue 04-Apr-17 19:34:27

I had the same in my previous job, I was paid in full whist off sick and was told that if I didn't pursue damages any sickness off for the tendonitis would not be counted . I am no longer working and rarely get flare ups

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:36:35

I can see why my employer would word the agreement like that, why wouldn't they try to minimise their future liability, but they are paying me to leave early so that they aren't bearing my salary costs for several months whilst I find a new job. They aren't exiting me because I'm injured and can't do the job any more, if you see what I mean?

ApocalypseNowt Tue 04-Apr-17 19:36:45

I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole. If they were aware of injury (and it sounds like they were if they made adjustments) then the should have informed their insurers of an incident likely to give rise to a claim.

Most EL insurance policies have a form of the following wording:

^when dealing with your employee or a third-party, you must not admit that you are liable
for what has happened or make any offer, deal or payment, unless you have our prior
written agreement. If you do, we may reduce any payment we make under this section by
an amount equal to the detriment we have suffered as a result.^

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:37:54

Crikey goose, that's not good news if you're only avoiding glare ups by not working!

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:38:18

FLARE ups. Sausage fingers.

ApocalypseNowt Tue 04-Apr-17 19:38:20

Posted too soon! So they are on shaky ground making offers of their own.

I'd listen to the solicitor (assuming they have experience in this area of law) but I think you should not accept their offer.

socialengineering Tue 04-Apr-17 19:38:52

I'm shocked that your shocked! You work in finance, you must come across liability terms such as this regularly?

If you have a problem sort it now, why would you wait till you have left, other than the fact you dislike conflict or chancing it.

I find the set up you have mentioned interesting. You told them you would be leaving at some point thins year. Was this for leverage/counter offer options that has backfired?

They are offering you a settlement? This doesn't scream leaving amicably, or is this a gardening leave scenario? just FYI for future interview conversations.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:46:41

I told them the truth. My former boss left, along with most of the exec team, and was replaced by somebody with a reputation for being pretty ruthless and bringing his own team in. I'm good at my job, but I could see that I'd be managed out eventually - the more challenging and visible bits of my role were being absorbed by new team members.

I'd only planned to be in this role for 2 years in any event. So there was nothing to lose and enough to be gained (i.e. not being aggressively managed out) by truthfully saying that I was bored and would be looking for a new role in 2017. The discussions have been amicable and I think I played it right.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 19:48:11

Thanks for the advice everyone, by the way.

socialengineering Tue 04-Apr-17 20:08:18

Shit situation. If this is their usual conduct don't go their, money does t care! Ensure you agree a glowing reference before you leave - that is the biggest piece of advice I could give you.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 20:25:11

Thanks. Reference already agreed, and because people know people and a prospective new employer might conceivably call him for a view on me, I've been careful not to get across new boss whilst I've been working for him.

SomethingBorrowed Tue 04-Apr-17 20:37:22

I'm shocked that your shocked! You work in finance, you must come across liability terms such as this regularly?

I work in finance as well and wouldn't habe an idea. Do you mean insurance maybe??

SomethingBorrowed Tue 04-Apr-17 20:39:35

OP, I wouldn't sign. Discuss with your solicitor and then maybe try to negociate. As tou said the settlement is to save paying months of your salary and is not there to compensate the injury in any way.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 20:39:43

Glad it's not just me! Was wondering whether I was thicker than I thought I was!

(I don't work in insurance either)

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 20:40:24

Thanks for the views. Hard to think straight in these situations!

Sunshinegirl82 Tue 04-Apr-17 21:25:29

I'm an employment solicitor. The solicitor you spoke to is right, this sort of clause is usual in settlement agreements. The general principle of settlement agreements is that it's a clean break which enables the employer to draw a line under matters with very limited ongoing liability. It is sometimes possible to pushback on these sorts of things but ultimately if the employer refuses to change it it will come down to whether the deal is worth it to you or not.

Sounds like your solicitor is on it though so hopefully once you've met with them you'll have a clearer idea of the way forward.

Nettletheelf Tue 04-Apr-17 22:11:03

Thank you.

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