What Should I Do If I Am Satisfied With My Settlement Agreement Terms?
If you have already received an offer for a settlement that has come about due to a long process between your employer and you, and the offer is accepted then you are still required to seek legal advice.
It is a legal requirement for an employee to receive legal independent advice or counsel from an experienced and qualified lawyer before accepting the terms relating to the settlement agreement.
Many individuals in this situation usually look for a law firm that provides a “sign-only” specialist service.
Under the usual terms of this type of legal service, a lawyer will advise you on what the agreement terms mean, and how these terms could affect your future plans. They will also give you advice on whether this compensation level is really a good deal when it comes to your specific circumstances.
Top tips for finalising a settlement agreement
- You will be required to seek legal advice in order for your agreement to become binding
- Even if you are satisfied with your offer, this agreement could still be changed in order to benefit you
- Make sure you choose a settlement agreement expert to make sure you are making the most of your agreement.
Who is the “sign-only” service for?
This service will apply to you when you are happy with the settlement offer but you need advice in regards to the agreement terms. With this in mind, redrafting the agreement slightly is usually a requirement to make sure you are obtaining the maximum benefits from these terms.
Even when the terms of your financial settlement are agreed on, it can still be a very stressful situation when you are facing termination relating to your employment. This is why it is important to choose a lawyer that has the necessary experience and skills in this field.
Choosing a lawyer to sign off your settlement agreement
Understand the experience and credentials of a solicitor you would like to use. You should also choose a professional with whom you can effectively communicate so that you gain a full understanding of agreement terms and what they mean. Over and above that, the lawyer should also be:
- An employment law expert
- Experience in handling settlement agreements
- Able to explain and advise on the exact intricacies of the agreement terms
- Is familiar with working in collaboration with HR departments
- Efficient so that they can help you to quickly conclude this process
Some law firms make the mistake of handing over the signing off of these settlement agreements to lawyers that are still juniors that have very little experience in “employment law” or on how to give the right advice to an employee about their settlement.
You should steer clear of these types of setups and first find out about the employment law reputation and experience of the law firm you plan to work with. You should ask the firm about the experience levels of the person that will be assigned to you before you decide to hire the firm.
Timing is usually important in “sign-only” situations, and you might need advice on your settlement agreement within hours, instead of a few days or even a week. This is why it is important to ask the law firm for their average turn-around time, or the lawyer you have chosen to sign your agreement off.
The importance of getting advice from an employment law specialist?
Even when you have an offer to settle, it does not mean that the process has been finalised.
The agreement terms might be onerous, which means you may see the deal in a totally different way once a lawyer has advised you. Or it could contain terms that place so many restrictions on you, that after you have left it may ruin any chances for a future career.
These are some of the main reasons why you need accurate legal advice so that you can understand all the contractual terms present in the agreement from an experienced lawyer that has lengthy experience in explaining the agreement terms or any consequences they may have in court.
Specialist experience and expertise are very important when it comes to providing you with accurate information on any consequences relating to restrictive confidentiality and covenants clauses.
What is more is that in just about every case that has made it to a court, the stress, disruption, ad cost might have been completely avoided when the employee made sure they obtained legal advice relating to the settlement and/or the contract.
Multiple or collective redundancies
Unfortunately, a change in the circumstances of a business can mean that an employer is forced into making multiple redundancies to ensure its competitiveness or survival. This can result in an employer offering a group of workers very similar settlement agreements.
This is one of the other areas where employment law specialists can help. The firm would usually send a team of lawyers or a lawyer to the workplace of the employer or to a venue that is neutral, to advise the group on what the terms of the settlement mean and if there are any consequences. Special rates are usually on offer for this type of service.
With over 10 years of experience in employment law matters, David Philip Harris specialises in providing legal advice on settlement agreements to both employees and employers throughout the UK. David’s opinion and advice are frequently sought after as he contributes often to BBC Radio Berkshire and the People Management Magazine. David Is a long-standing member of The Employment Lawyers Association and The Law Society.