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Settlement agreement?

(17 Posts)
marsybum Tue 06-Dec-16 20:33:06

I'm going to be entering into a settlement agreement with my employer, I don't know how much theyll be offering but I definitely don't want to go back.

Ive been with the company 5 years, always had good appraisals etc (not that they were ever written down) ill be getting a good reference etc. I'm disabled but that's not affected my performance however I do worry it'll make it harder to get a comparable position.

Does anyone know how I would know if they are offering a reasonable settlement? Ive always been paid less than others doing the same job and im worried they will follow the same principle for this? No real reason for being paid less its just always been that way, at one point 2 colleagues doing the same job were on 50% more than me - allegedly because it was "too high a jump" this has been evened out a bit over the last 3 years but there's still a difference.

Id appreciate any advice

EnormousTiger Tue 06-Dec-16 20:49:02

If they want a binding lawful settlement agreement with you then you have to have a independent solicitor giving you exactly this advice you are asking for. That solicitor will advise you. The compromise agreement will in England have a clause in it saying you have had that advice and a schedule which the solicitor must sign to certify they gave you advice - this must be a separate solicitor from the company's one and finally it is very common that your employer will pay for that advice and the agreement says so eg up to £250 or £500 of legal costs.

You've been there over 2 years. Presumably there may have been disability discrimination. I am guessing here but 2 - 6 months' pay might be a reasonable pay off? But you need an employment solicitor to tell you really.

caroldecker Tue 06-Dec-16 21:02:55

If you're disabled and there is a whiff of discrimination (and the pay issue suggests there could be an argument for it), the risk to them is much higher. You should, therefore, be able to get a better settlement, but you need an experienced solicitor to help.

flowery Tue 06-Dec-16 21:13:28

Your solicitor will advise you whether in the circumstances the offer is worth accepting or not.

For the employer it's a commercial decision- presumably if they are offering to settle, they believe they are vulnerable legally in some way, otherwise they wouldn't need to.

What they offer will be based on how strong a case they believe you have, how likely you are to proceed with a claim, how keen they are to avoid going through defending a claim and what they think the outcome of a claim would be.

marsybum Tue 06-Dec-16 21:40:17

They did say that I would need to see a solicitor but it was very much painted as a formality to get a signature rather than getting actual advice? I am a union member so I'll give them a call and see what they can advice. I do feel it's being put as "the job has changed and I can't cope with the change" which yes the job has changed beyond recognition since September but I feel I have been treated badly (eg I complained about a number of things including being told to say someone working a 12 hour shift alone should take thier breaks at thier desk, saying it was unreasonable to expect me to participate in an on call rota without even clarifying how much I would be paid and a number of other issues - this resulted in me being told I was being put on an improvement plan) I have been signed off for the last fortnight with stress caused by these issues and more, and my doctor today has signed me as unfit for another month. I feel a little bit steamrollered but can't face going back.

SpeckledyBanana Tue 06-Dec-16 21:43:07

Depends on your union, but they may be able to arrange legal cover.

Or - do you have legal cover on your house insurance?

marsybum Tue 06-Dec-16 21:50:26

I'll check if I do, thanks

prh47bridge Wed 07-Dec-16 00:38:01

They did say that I would need to see a solicitor but it was very much painted as a formality to get a signature rather than getting actual advice

It is not just getting a signature. The solicitor will be signing to confirm that they have given you advice on the agreement. It is common for the company to pay your legal bill as it is in their interests to ensure that you get appropriate advice. If you don't the agreement is not binding on you, so you could take the compensation offered and then sue for unfair dismissal, discrimination, etc.

Ask if your employer will pay your legal costs. If they will you don't need to worry about your house insurance.

EnormousTiger Wed 07-Dec-16 07:07:14

prh is right. The solicitor should not just rubber stamp it. I never would. That is why the law says you need a qualified solicitor to do it - we get struck off if we don't do the job properly. So for example if the sum is ridiculously low then the solicitor would not advise you to accept it. Also sometimes the company will increase the legal spend too that they pay for you beyond what they originally offer if they think it will get you the advice you need and settle it. The solicitor can also advise on you whether there is genuine redundancy here and if there is disability discrimination.

Do be aware though that some people think all employment claims are massive. Often they aren't particularly if your pay is not that high in the first place and even if it is there can be an upper cap on the most you can claim and tribunal fees are very expensive these days which is putting people off suing.

marsybum Wed 07-Dec-16 10:07:38

They've just called me and said theyll offer the equivalent of 2 months gross pay, scary prospect really... I'm waiting for a local employment lawyer to call me back, it's all a it difficult to cope with when ive been signed off by the doctor and am struggling with anxiety caused by the way the job has made me feel.

Geepee71 Wed 07-Dec-16 11:09:14

Make sure what they pay you is net not gross amounts. Also you want pay in lieu of notice, any accrued holiday pay, any pro-rata bonus, if one was due.
Ensure you use a law firm with a dedicated employment law section as they will be very familiar with comp agreements.
You don't have to accept the first offer, you can negotiate (or your legal advisor will on your behalf).
Agree the wording for reference and get it included in the agreement too.
All reasonable requests!

marsybum Wed 07-Dec-16 15:10:49

I've spoken to a lawyer he will be taking a look, they've now come back and upped the offer slightly (still less than 3 months gross) They've said they want me to have it signed and back to them by the end of the week! <br><br>I'm feeling totally steamrollered here, I've done nothing wrong, in 5 years ive never had any performance issues or disciplinary, this has all come from them changing my job and me trying to stand up for myself. <br><br>I think they think I'm playing a game and am not really ill but I spend half the time in tears and the rest with my stomach in knots!

marsybum Wed 07-Dec-16 15:12:33

Sorry about the <br> seems the app inserts them..

EnormousTiger Wed 07-Dec-16 19:31:22

Are they giving you time to find another job whilst working for them still whilst you work out the notice period? I ask because it can be easier to get a new job sometimes if you are still working at the old. Also check if the agreement annexes an agreed form of reference - they often do and it can be helpful.

Also in the last week the Government announced it is going to change the taxation of pay offs so do make sure your employment lawyer advises on thise (the old law still applies) and whether the payment is tax free or not.

notaflyingmonkey Wed 07-Dec-16 19:34:31

Contact your union and get their advice. As others have said, many of the big unions have deals with employment solicitors.

johendy Wed 07-Dec-16 20:18:19

Remember they want the agreement signed so you can't claim for anything like unfair dismissal, discrimination, failure to follow redundancy process etc. They're pushing you as they want to clear the matter.

From the little you've said, I'm not sure why you're at this point. Is it a redundancy and they're paying above statutory redundancy pay and want the SA (quite common) or because you've 'mutually agreed to part company'? If it's redundancy, make sure you tell the lawyer the details of the process they followed in case they've not followed the law. Then you may have a better negotiating position. If it's a 'mutual agreement' then talk to your lawyer about how it came about; as this sort of approach carries extra risk for the employer (as you're not leaving for a legitimate legal reason- ie redundancy, fair dismissal or resignation). And again you might be in a stronger negotiating position.

Your lawyer doesn't have to be local, most week take a case over the phone too. So be sure to get a lawyer you trust. Also make sure they're explicit about what is the settlement and if pay in lieu of notice is in addition.

Having a disability doesn't mean they've discriminated, but it does mean they have an obligations to make reasonable adjustments. If they haven't done this (in the eyes of the law) you have a steiner negotiating position.

Good luck

Mehfruittea Fri 16-Dec-16 00:32:38

How did you get on OP? Did your union step in?

Sorry I have only just seen this thread, I hope my experience is not too late. I. Disabled and have had the unfortunate experience of agreeing a settlement 3 times in last 5 years. I've just concluded my most recent employment in the last few weeks like this.

1 - employed 7 years - got just over 12 months salary net
2 - employed 11 months - 8 months salary net
3 - employed 14 months - 15 months salary net

Each one I experienced pretty overt discrimination that could have been proven quite easily in a tribunal. Your union rep should advise you and make arrangements for a solicitor for you who can negotiate an deal.

Best of luck flowers

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