Hello, I’m about to sign a settlement agreement with my employer. Long story but my boss and I hate each other - I have a potential claim for bullying, she just wants me to leave. HR have intervened and we’ve come to a compromise - a settlement agreement with six months money. I’m happy with those terms but I’d like to know what I should do in terms of asking my employer to agree a reference for any new employer? Also, do I have to tell future employers that I left this firm under a settlement agreement? Or is there another way I can describe what happened that doesn’t put me at a disadvantage? The confidentiality clause in the agreement forbids mention of it and it’s terms. Many thanks!
As mrscampbell says they should be paying a reasonable sum for you to have this agreement checked by a solicitor. It’s in their interests for you to do this otherwise there is a risk you could turn round at a later date and argue the agreement was invalid for various reasons (duress, misrep). If they haven’t mentioned this to you just say to HR that you assume they will want you to have this reviewed by an employment solicitor and will they agree to fund a reasonable sum towards this.
I work in HR for a company you will have heard of. Everyone under settlement agreements has an employment legal specialist of their choice paid for by the company, irrespective of level. I think the lowest amount I’ve seen was about 300 GBP, highest 2k. Ask your HR department how much you have been assigned and take it from there. Select your own legal representative otherwise it’s unethical. Ask your chosen solicitor about the referencing, different firms have different policies (ours will only disclose start and end dates plus title).
As an employer, any settlement agreements we’ve had have included an agreed reference (it forms part of the written agreement itself). On one occasion the employee wrote it, we amended it where necessary and that’s what was used on the couple of occasions we were asked for a reference.
The reason for leaving can be vague and non commital.
Your employer should pay for you to get legal advice. Unless the settlement agreement is signed by someone who gave you advice it is not binding on you.
The settlement agreement should include an agreed reference. You don't have to tell future employers that you left with a settlement agreement. In my experience the employee normally says they were made redundant.
It's a couple of years since I had any reason to look into this, but I was under the impression a settlement agreement had to include provision for you to seek legal advice, otherwise you could potentially challenge it later. Logical if you think about it. The whole point of one is to pay you to fuck off quietly, no comebacks.