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Settlement Agreement(11 Posts)
Hi everyone. I've had a long ongoing very complex tribunal claim. In my agreement, it states "to keep the existence of the agreement confidential". I am aware that previous colleagues and customers were aware that I had an existing tribunal claim in before I was dismissed. I know I will see these customers and I am still in contact and friends with ex employees. I'm not sure what I can now say to them now regarding the agreement. These people have known about everything that happened leading to my dismissal. Any ideas how I can explain this to them? Many thanks
I would question this. I've been involved in a few and the caveat was always you can't disclose details, not the fact that a settlement exists.
You just tell them that you aren’t legally able to discuss the matter anymore.
It’s pretty common for that type of clause to be in a COT3 agreement and it shouldn’t cause a problem (unless your ex colleagues are especially nosy/persistent).
You've mentioned customers and former colleagues and friends.
IMO none of those people have any right to know any more detail than they already do. It's your business and I would push back on any further intrusive nosey questions. If they are true friends and respected customers, they won't press you to give them all the minute details.
"How's the Tribunal Case going?"
"What's the latest on your case?"
"did you win your Case?"
are all questions you can respond with "I'd really appreciate not having to discuss it any more, it has been a constant source of stress to me - nothing has really happened so I don't have any more information to give you"
Just cut off the nosey questions and if they aren't willing to respect your wishes, then that's their problem.
Just to add, as an incentive, the penalty for disclosure is that you get to pay the money back! And it definitely does happen because I have personally known a case where the employer sued for the return of the money and got it. It isn't common, but some employers are motivated, especially if it reflects on their business. "I'm sorry, but I can't discuss it with anyone" is the limit of what it is safe to say. And it stops people asking more questions, because, people being people, they will.
And just to add, the very premise of a Settlement Agreement is (controversially), "we give you some money so you go away quietly and by you signing up to take the money is that it will not become public knowledge".
The alternative being avoided is the time, cost and stress of a Tribunal Case which can become public knowledge and arguably a slur in the organisation's reputation. So they are within their rights to claw back the cash they've paid if the former employee breaches the agreement.
"I have no information to give you" is a more fail-save answer than "I can't tell you anymore" because it implies you do have info but you don't want to share it whereas "no information" is just that!
My 'go to' answers are "I'm not allowed to talk about it for legal reasons" or "I signed an NDA so I can't say anything".
Its my way of not breaking any agreement but at the same time letting people know that I stood up for myself too (discrimination)
The existence of a tribunal action is a matter of public record. You could amend it to state that you will say nothing more about it than it was resolved by mutual agreement. Then that’s what you do.
Your solicitor who gives you advice should be able to give a solid answer however, I can't say anything about will suffice.
Your employer needs to pay for you to see a solicitor or the settlement agreement may not stand. Speak with your solicitor about this concern. You could negotiate to have the clause amended based on the fact that you had already told people about the process before you saw the proposed agreement.
It's all a negotiation.
It's likely to be more important to them that no one hears the details of the agreement (e.g. what the payout is) rather than the existence of the agreement. If this is the case, your employer may agree to amend the clause.
Thank you for your advice, the reason I was concerned is because I recently had a previous customer that came into my new place of work and told me they'd heard that my ex employer had settled my claim. I suppose I shouldn't be too shocked at this as last year a colleague told me everyone in the Company knew about my existing claim, as the Manager dealing with me had told everyone he had been told to offer me £xxxx to leave the Company., and drop my claim, I refused and continued with my claim, unfair dismissal was subsequently added to the claim.
It is the type of company everyone knows everyone's business and nothing is kept quiet it's a very hard situation.
I will take all your advice on board