A settlement agreement is a document that an employer may offer an employee in order to make sure the employee doesn’t bring or continue with any claims against them. These documents can vary in length from a couple of pages to in excess of 20 pages, but they are often very detailed and use lots of legal jargon.
A settlement agreement is only legally enforceable once the employee has received advice from a qualified independent adviser, usually a solicitor. When you ask us to advise you on a settlement agreement that you have received from your employer, we consider that we have two main tasks.
Firstly, we will ask you to explain what has occurred that has led to the agreement being offered. This enables us to assess whether the amount being offered is reasonable in our view. Secondly, we have a duty to go through the wording of the agreement with you to make sure that you understand fully the consequences of signing the agreement.
Some advisers feel that all they have to do is explain to you that once you sign the agreement, then you cannot pursue the claims you are agreeing to give up. Whilst this approach might go just far enough to comply with their legal duty, we do not consider it to be good practice. That is why we will give you the additional advice as to whether we feel the offer is reasonable.
It is normally the case that your employer agrees to pay for the cost of your getting advice on a settlement agreement. We generally deal with several settlement agreements a week and so are familiar with the usual pitfalls.
To find out more about our first class legal services call us on 0800 949 9123 or use the enquiry form.