If you have a dispute or grievance with your employer that could merit you bringing a claim to an employment tribunal, your employer might try to settle the dispute to avoid an Employment Tribunal claim being made;
There 2 ways legals ways your employer can use to prevent you exercising your right to go to a tribunal;
With the help of ACAS an agreement that is legally binding can be negotiated; this is call a COT3 agreement:
An agreement can be negotiated directly with your employer to create a settlement agreement:
Both these types of agreements usually involve your employer paying you a sum of money in return for you agreeing not to bring certain claims against them.
A COT3 agreement can only be negotiated through ACAS; Before you can bring an employment tribunal claim you must attempt conciliation with your employer by making a referral to ACAS to commence ‘Early Conciliation’. ACAS will try and facilitate negotiations with your employer and if an agreement is reached they will draw up the COT3 contract for both parties to sign. Often a reference can be negotiated at this point as well but the resulting agreement is a binding contract that usually includes a confidentiality clause. If Early Conciliation fails then you will be issued with a certificate that allows you to proceed to an Employment Tribunal claim.
A settlement agreement is also a legally binding contract between you and your employer and again it is very likely that your employer will want you to keep the agreement confidential.
For a settlement agreement to be legally binding you must receive independent legal advice about its content and your employer will usually pay you to receive this advice.
It would be wise to get advice before you start any negotiations.
Because Winrow Solicitors are experienced in Employment Law we can advise you on the merits and worth of your case. Without this knowledge you might try and negotiate an unrealistically high settlement payment or accept a very low one. Your employer will probably want to agree a lower sum than your case is worth so knowing a realistic figure before you begin negotiations will be key to your success.
We understand that conducting these type of negotiations will be a daunting prospect for you so we will happly do it for you and attempt to obtain the very best deal.
If you instruct us to negotiate on your behalf.
We will consider aspects like:
The strength of your case and the level of award you might receive at Tribunal if successful;
As there is no guarantee of success at an Employment Tribunal we will weigh up any offer made against the level of award you could get;
Your employment issue may be wanting changes in your workplace rather than leaving your job, we can include those changes in the agreement;
If the intention is to leave your job we can include a reference in the agreement;
We will take account of the stresses involved in going to a Tribunal as they might outweigh any award you might receive even if you win;
We understand that often all you really want is to be able to do is ‘draw a line’ under the upset that your grievance has caused and move on with your life. The drawing of that line will be our priority, whether it be the amount of money you receive, an apology or changes in your work-place. Once we know what it will take for you to be able to ‘move on’ we will endeavor with all our skill to achieve it for you.
Sometimes your employer will not fully enter into negotiations or will not move on issues that are important to you, in those circumstances you may need to go to the Employment Tribunal to be able to move on. If this happens we will be there to to guide you through making the claim, complying with all the formalities like providing a schedule of loss, preparing a bundle of documents for the hearing and drafting your witness statements. Perhaps then more importantly we will represent you at the hearing its self. Our senior advocate, Ian Winrow, is a very experienced Employment Tribunal advocate.
Call us or email us today for a free half hour assessment of your case. Tel: 01286 269226 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org