While a Settlement Agreement is a common way to settle employment-related issues, they are not appropriate in every case. There are, therefore, three alternatives that may be considered. These are:

  1. Taking the matter to tribunal
  2. Commencing ACAS EC
  3. Dropping the matter entirely.

Going to Tribunal

If an employee decides that they will not sign the Settlement Agreement offered by their employer, but they believe that they have been the victim of unfair dismissal, or have another employment-related claim, they may decide to bring that claim before either the  County Court, in the case of contractual payments, or the Employment Tribunal as long as the claim has merit and the relevant timescales have been met.

Commencing ACAS EC

Commencing ACAS EC is the first course of action before starting Tribunal proceedings. In such cases, an ACAS officer will be appointed to liaise with the employer. In these situations, a Settlement may be offered under a COT3. That is a different type of Settlement which is also legally binding but agreed through ACAS. In that scenario, there is no need to take any legal advice. It is important to note, however, that while ACAS will provide the independent individual who will liaise with the employer on your behalf, they are unable to give any legal advice. They can only give guidance, therefore seeking advice from a solicitor is highly recommended.

Employment Status

If your employment is not yet terminated and the Settlement Agreement was being offered to you with the aim of bringing your employment relationship with your employer to an amicable conclusion, you will remain an employee until either you decide to resign or the employer takes further action, for example dismissal, against you. Should you be dismissed following correct handling of the Settlement Agreement proposal process, you will be unable to mention the terms proposed to you in the Settlement Agreement in any future Employment Tribunal should you decide to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

It is therefore imperative to seek legal advice from an expert solicitor before making any decisions with regard to whether or not to agree to a Settlement Agreement.

For more information or for expert advice on business or personal legal issues, contact us at info@carterbond.co.uk or visit our website www.carterbond.co.uk or call us on 020 3475 6751.

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