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Settlement Agreement Solicitors, Glasgow

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. Our solicitors work on settlement agreements every day and will ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for you.

This type of 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, it is advisable to speak to an experienced solicitor. Our employment solicitors have a pragmatic approach in dealing with often sensitive employment issues and have extensive experience in employment law claims. We can advise you about your choices when making a settlement agreement, and will guide you throughout 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.

Settlement Agreements (Compromise Agreements) Scotland

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 someone other than an employee– for example, a former employee or an unsuccessful job applicant. A Settlement Agreement, however, is an agreement between two parties - the employer and employee (or other) - and cannot be signed by groups of individuals. It is highly advisable that you have your Settlement Agreement terms checked by a solicitor 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:

  1. The agreement must be in writing.
  2. It must relate to a specific complaint
  3. It must state that the statutory conditions regulating settlement agreements have been satisfied.
  4. 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.
  5. The statement must be signed by the employee and employer (and usually the employee’s legal adviser).

Some of the terms a settlement agreement will include those relating to notice periods and monetary terms such as holiday pay and unpaid salary or bonuses. In potential unfair dismissal claims – common forms of claim such as discrimination will be agreed as invalid.

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
  • any other statutory rights

The main reason for the change from Compromise Agreements to Settlement Agreements (in 2013) was to simplify the procedure for employers. They are also intended to reduce the need for tribunals to take place – which can be an expensive and lengthy process. ACAS also released guidance at the time of the change, which includes a minimum period of ten days required between the terms of the Settlement Agreement being proposed by the employer and the employment coming to an end. Employers are also not allowed to pressurise employees into signing settlement agreements.

Settlement Agreements & Confidentiality

Negotiations about settlement agreements are also 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.

Settlement Agreements & 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 prevents statements made in an attempt to settle an existing dispute from being put before an employment tribunal or court proceeding as evidence. In the event that some ‘unambiguous impropriety’ has taken place in relation to the settlement offer or 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.

Our solicitors will assist you with the complexities involved in the Settlement Agreement process; an experienced employment law solicitor can ensure the agreement is made expediently and with your best interests at the centre of the decision-making process.

Contact our Settlement Agreement Solicitors in Glasgow Today

We serve clients across Scotland, and often work on a no-win no-fee basis. For expert employment law advice contact us on 01413751222, or fill out our online enquiry form.

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