Settlement Agreements: Episode 28

Conciliation

An introduction to Settlement Agreements?

Following a request from a listener I bring you an introduction to Settlement Agreements and particularly the legal requirements for a binding Settlement Agreement.

In this episode you will learn:

  • What a Settlement Agreement is.
  • When Settlement Agreements are used.
  • Who proposes a Settlement Agreement.
  • What the legal requirements are for a Settlement Agreement.
  • Why an employee must obtain legal advice regarding a Settlement Agreement.
  • Who can advise an employee about a Settlement Agreement.
  • Who should prepare the Settlement Agreement terms.
  • What rights an employee can waive under a Settlement Agreement.

Legal Rights that cannot be settled

There are various legal rights which an employee cannot waive under a settlement agreement and these include:

  • Claims relating to collective redudncies and an employers failure to adhere to their obligation to inform and consult with appropriate representatives.
  • Claims for breach of regulations 5, 6 and 9 under the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010.
  • Where there is a Transfer of employment covered by TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) and the employer fails to inform and consult transfering employees.
  • Claims under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
  • Employees are not able to compromise or waive their legal right to statutory maternity pay, paternity pay or adoption pay.

With some of these claims employees can agree to waive their rights and settle claims if done so via ACAS. If you find you have an employee with one of these claims and you want to seek to reach an agreement with them then you should certainly obtain specific legal advice before paying the employee any money or drawing up any form of agreement or settlement agreement.

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about protecting your business reputation by the inclusion of a ‘Social Media’ Policy in your handbook and if possible adding a clause to your employment contracts. This tip has come about following various recent cases about Social Media, including one reported in the blog which you can read here

Some suggested wording for a clause that you can add to your contracts is: ‘You are not permitted to use any social media/networking platform during working time. Further, you are specifically not permitted to make any reference to the Company or any work colleague on any social media/networking site(s), whether in work or personal time. You should be aware that in such event, this could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Careful judgement should be exercised, giving consideration to the impact that your online activities may have on your employment. Any content posted by you on any social media network which could damage the reputation of the Company will result in disciplinary action and possibly dismissal.’

Where reputation is important to your business do not leave it vulnerable.

Podcast Awards 

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New Media Europe Conference – 12th – 13th September 2015 at The Midland Hotel, Manchester – If you are interested in attending you can get £100 off the ticket price by clicking here and using the code REAL.

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The information contained in this Podcast and post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.

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