Making sure you negotiate a settlement agreement with your employer from a position of strength

  • A settlement agreement can be used to end your employment on agreed terms or to resolve an employment dispute.
  • When you sign the agreement, you waive all your rights to take your employer to a court or tribunal, so it is a statutory requirement that you receive independent legal advice on its terms.
  • Settlement agreements are complex and you will need expert advice. Our specialist employment lawyers will guide you through the agreement and ensure you walk away with the best possible package.

Have you been given a settlement agreement to sign?

You need to be sure you’re receiving the best deal possible. Settlement agreements can be used if you are leaving a business, to end an employment relationship on agreed terms, or to resolve a dispute in an ongoing employment relationship. A settlement agreement will usually offer you a lump sum payment and in return, you sign away your rights to ever bring a claim against your employer.

The complex nature of settlement agreements makes it essential to instruct someone who will take you through the entire agreement, so you fully understand each clause and are satisfied you are receiving the best deal possible.

What is a settlement agreement?

As an employee, if you are in dispute with your employer, you have a right to pursue the matter in the court or tribunal. The exception to this is when you and your employer have entered into a formal settlement agreement that fulfils strict statutory requirements.

Why have I been asked to enter into a settlement agreement?

Once a valid settlement agreement has been signed by both parties, you will have waived your right to go to an employment tribunal about any type of claim listed in the agreement. Your employer may ask you to enter into a settlement agreement because they are concerned you may have a claim against their business or because they do this as routine when an employee leaves their organisation.

How much would a settlement agreement cost me?

The fees for a settlement agreement depend on how complicated it is and how much negotiation is required for all parties agreeing to the terms. We will, however, agree rates with you up front so there are no surprises.

As it is a statutory requirement that independent legal advice is received employers will frequently agree to a contribution to your legal costs at a fixed rate. If this has not been discussed it may be worth raising this matter with your employer.

Does a settlement agreement need to be witnessed?

Some settlement agreements may require a witness signature, but every settlement agreement requires you to obtain independent legal advice to ensure that you understand the terms of the agreement and the potential consequences of certain rights that you are waiving when you sign it.

As experienced settlement agreement solicitors, we will not only sign any of the necessary paperwork, we will also offer expert advice regarding your interests, to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome from the agreement.

How to get a settlement agreement at work?

If you wish to leave your current employer and have a dispute or grievance with them that could make it difficult to leave under normal circumstances, you may want to ask them if they will offer you a settlement agreement.

It is usually the employer who takes the step of offering a settlement agreement first, but there is no law against the employee asking for one. The employer is under no obligation to agree to do so.

If you want expert employment law advice about leaving a role, we can give specialist support at every stage and can help with settlement agreement negotiations on your behalf if required.

What happens if you breach a settlement agreement?

If you breach the terms of a settlement agreement, you might be subject to a claim through court from your former employer. Settlement agreements are legally binding contracts that both parties are obliged to keep to. For example, there may be a confidentiality clause in your agreement that means you must keep the settlement sum paid to you a private matter. If you break this, your former employer might choose to make a claim against you, which could mean you have to repay the money paid to you.

For any advice in relation to settlement agreements, our expert team can help make sure that your interests are protected and that any terms included are reasonable.

What happens if I refuse to sign a settlement agreement?

You are under no legal obligation to sign a settlement agreement that is offered to you by your employer as a way to terminate your employment. Signing a settlement agreement is voluntary and there could be circumstances involved which might make you unwilling to agree to the terms.

It might be that you do not wish to waive your rights to bring a potential claim against your former employer in the future, or you may not be satisfied with a settlement sum or any of the other terms. Your employer is likely to still terminate your employment even if you do not agree to sign the settlement agreement, but we may be able to help you to negotiate with your employer so that an agreement can be made that is acceptable to all parties.

How can Moore Barlow assist you?

As you are renouncing your rights to ever bring a claim against your employer, you need to be absolutely certain you are satisfied with the terms of the agreement before you sign it. The agreement will have to cover many areas and so will inevitably be complicated, which means it’s vital you have expert legal advice from someone who can negotiate on your behalf.

Our specialist employment solicitors at Moore Barlow have a vast range of experience in advising on and negotiating the terms of settlement agreements. Rather than you merely signing off on a settlement agreement, we will examine it closely first and tell you whether the deal being proposed is good for you or you should negotiate for a better package.

Our expertise and experience range from simple, straightforward agreements to complex, contentious ones, meaning that we can advise you in relation to your specific set of circumstances, so you walk away with the best possible agreement.

We have offices in London, Southampton, Woking, Richmond, Lymington and Guildford and we offer specialist support and expert advice to clients all over the country.

If you are based in the city of London or the Richmond area, our specialist settlement agreement solicitors are ideally placed in these locations to help with any legal advice or support you might need as you move on to the next stage of your career.

For those based in Southampton or the surrounding area, the expert team in our Southampton office can help with any employment law support required, including help negotiating settlement agreements.

Our employment law specialists in our Guildford, Lymington and Woking offices also have a proven track record when it comes to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome from settlement agreement negotiations and move forwards onto their next role.

With our experienced team based across the South East of England working diligently on your behalf, we pride ourselves on offering best-in-class services and always ensure that you’re up to date with how things are progressing and the status of proceedings.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you with our settlement agreement services.