Quick read: An employment solicitor will review the terms of a settlement agreement offered by an employer to establish if a reasonable offer has been made to the employee while ensuring their rights remain protected before they sign.
If you need advice from settlement agreement solicitors then we would take instructions from a client and then provide them with advice on the terms of the agreement they’ve been offered. The agreement needs to be certified by them providing the advice to be enforceable. They would confirm the circumstances relating to the employee’s employment with the individual have been discussed and advise them as to whether or not any claims have arisen.
Circumstances and background information
A solicitor needs to understand all of the circumstances related to the offer of the settlement agreement to the individual, including when it was offered and why it was offered, in order to advise them regarding whether or not they should sign the agreement or whether they should negotiate on its terms.
If an individual has been offered a settlement agreement it normally means their employment with the employer will be coming to an end or terminating. A solicitor understands why the employment is terminating in order to advise the individual whether or not the sums of money being paid are sufficient or whether the individual should consider negotiating additional sums as severance pay.
For example, if a flawed process has been followed by the employer in terminating the employee’s employment, it may be the case a claim for unfair dismissal has arisen.
Unfair dismissal and employment tribunals
Employees who have been unfairly dismissed can pursue a claim in the Employment Tribunal within three months of the date of their dismissal. In this case, an employee may be able to recover damages equivalent to up to one year’s salary plus a sum equal to statutory redundancy pay.
In this case, an individual needs to be compensated adequately within a settlement agreement in order to waive his or her rights to pursue a claim of unfair dismissal against their employer.
A solicitor should consider all of the circumstances surrounding the employee’s termination of employment as well as the viability of any potential claims in order to properly advise the individual regarding whether or not they should sign the settlement agreement and return it to their employer.
A solicitor should also provide the individual with a clear indication of any legal costs which will be incurred in pursuing any claims in the Employment Tribunal which may have arisen. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration by individuals who have been offered severance payments by their employer within a settlement agreement.
It is important individuals seek legal advice on their rights so the solicitor can properly assess any offer which is made with any settlement agreements to ascertain whether or not any such claims have arisen.
Typically a solicitor will invoice an employer for their time for providing advice on the terms of a settlement agreement because a clause within the agreement itself will allow them to do so.
This means individuals will not have to pay their own bills in seeking legal advice on the terms of a settlement agreement but rather those costs will be met by their employer who has prepared the agreement and sent it to them.
However, if the settlement agreement terms are deemed unreasonable, individuals can choose to negotiate on the terms of the settlement agreement, there may be additional legal costs to pay and those individuals should seek clarity on this from the solicitor who is advising them on the agreement.
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.