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Settlement Agreement Solicitors, Glasgow

If you want to end your employment, or you have a potential dispute with your current employer, it may be appropriate to enter into a settlement agreement.

Settlement agreements are voluntary, negotiable, legally binding agreements and are a way for employers and employees to come to an agreement at the end of their working relationship. A settlement agreement (formerly known as a compromise agreement) is a written agreement between an employee and an employer, which terminates the employment on agreed terms. An agreed sum is paid by the employer as compensation to the employee, and in return, the employee agrees not to pursue a work-related claim.

The expert solicitors at Jones Whyte Law work on settlement agreements every day and we will ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Benefits of Settlement Agreements

A settlement agreement is mutually beneficial to both parties. The employer, on the one hand, avoids lengthy, time-consuming litigation and expense and the employee, in turn, does not have to face the financial risk involved in pursuing an employment tribunal claim. The agreement can also be negotiated to include a written work reference from the employer on the termination of their contract, and the employee will benefit from an agreed financial sum within an agreed timescale.

Before agreeing to negotiate a settlement agreement, speak to the dedicated solicitors at Jones Whyte. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure that you get the best deal for you. Our employment solicitors take a pragmatic approach to dealing with sensitive employment issues and have extensive experience, not only in settlement agreements but also in employment law claims. We can advise you about your choices when making a settlement agreement, and will guide you through the whole process. Your solicitor will ensure your contract does not include overly onerous terms, and that you receive advice tailored to your specific requirements.

How Settlement Agreements (Compromise Agreements) Work

Settlement agreements can be put into play before or after tribunal proceedings have been lodged. They can be drawn up between an employer and an employee, or by someone other than an employee, for example a former employee or an unsuccessful job applicant. Employers are not allowed to pressurise employees into signing settlement agreements.

Importantly, a settlement agreement is an agreement between two parties – the employer and employee (or other). It cannot be signed by groups of individuals.

A settlement agreement will include various terms, including those relating to notice periods and monetary terms, such as holiday pay and unpaid salary or bonuses. It is highly advisable that you have your settlement agreement terms checked by the specialist solicitors to ensure you or your business is not compromised in any way.

Before a settlement agreement can be legally binding, the following conditions must be met:

  • the agreement must be in writing;
  • it must relate to a specific complaint;
  • it must state that the statutory conditions regulating settlement agreements have been satisfied;
  • the employee must have advice from an independent legal adviser, normally a solicitor (the agreement will be invalid in the absence of independent legal advice on the employee’s part); and
  • the statement must be signed by the employee and employer (and usually the employee’s legal adviser).

ACAS provides that a minimum period of ten days is required between the terms of the settlement agreement being proposed by the employer and the employment coming to an end.

Settlement Agreements and Unfair Dismissal

Settlement agreements are intended to reduce the need for tribunal cases to take place – which can be expensive and lengthy. In potential unfair dismissal claims, common forms of claim such as discrimination will be agreed as invalid. However, some dismissals are classed as unfair automatically, whether the dismissal is held to be reasonable or not. These include cases where an employee is dismissed for exercising their rights regarding:

  • pregnancy or maternity-related issues;
  • family, or parental/paternity/adoption leave, or time off for dependants;
  • employee representation (e.g. Trade Union representation);
  • joining a trade union or similar body;
  • being a part-time or fixed-term employee;
  • health and safety;
  • protection against discrimination;
  • pay and working hours;
  • annual leave and the National Minimum Wage;
  • whistleblowing; and
  • any other statutory rights.

Settlement Agreements and Confidentiality

Negotiations about settlement agreements are confidential. If an agreement is not reached, the negotiations are not admissible as evidence in tribunal claims or other court proceedings. A settlement agreement will often contain clauses relating to confidentiality. Such clauses are voluntary and are a matter for the parties to agree during settlement discussions. Before you sign anything and agree to any terms in a proposed settlement agreement, contact the expert solicitors at Jones Whyte, who can make sure your best interests are taken care of.

Settlement Agreements and Court Evidence

The rules relating to the admissibility of settlement agreement negotiations as evidence in legal proceedings follow two principles:

  • the “without prejudice” principle; and
  • the admissibility provisions on settlement agreements set out in statute.

The “without prejudice” principle works to prevent statements made in an attempt to settle an existing dispute from being put before an employment tribunal or court as evidence. In the event that some “unambiguous impropriety” has taken place in relation to the settlement offer or the discussions, the without prejudice principle will not apply. Unambiguous impropriety can include blackmail, fraud, violence or unlawful discrimination. It also includes threats or intimidation when making an offer. 

The solicitors at Jones Whyte will assist you with the complexities involved in the settlement agreement process. We can ensure the agreement is made expediently and with your best interests at the centre of the decision-making process.

How can Jones Whyte Help?

The specialist solicitors at Jones Whyte will tell you, not only the best way to construct your settlement agreement, but also whether or not you should have one in the first place. Contact us today and run us through the situation at work, and our solicitors will be able to tell you whether your dispute with your employer is one you should not be ending so readily, and whether you have certain rights that you should pursue.

Once you have instructed us, the expert solicitors at Jones Whyte will help you with all the terms of the settlement agreement, running through every term with you to make sure that you understand and are happy with everything. If you are not, we will advise you as to more appropriate terms and help you communicate with your employer to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Contact our Settlement Agreement Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland

Jones Whyte is based in Glasgow and serves clients across Scotland, and often works on a no-win no-fee basis. We pride ourselves on our forward-thinking, pragmatic approach, always making sure we mix our legal expertise with commercially sensible advice to ensure that not only are your rights protected but that you always come out on top. If you are unsure of whether you are doing the right thing when it comes to your settlement agreement, then contact us today.

With decades of experience between them, the dedicated employment solicitors at Jones Whyte are perfectly placed to give you the advice you need. We will always make sure that we are transparent, that you understand everything that is going on and that you are happy. Whatever your issue, whether you need someone to negotiate and draw up the settlement agreement or review an existing agreement, contact us today. For expert employment law advice call us on 01413751222, or fill out our online enquiry form. 


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