Settlement Agreement Advice for Senior Executives
Our specialist employment lawyers provide high quality advice for senior executives. We will expect clearly explain your options, including potential claims that you may have against your employer, and we will build a strategy to seek to achieve your desired resolution.
If your employer has provided you with a settlement agreement (formerly known as compromise agreements) you will need to take independent legal advice.
Our specialist, and multi-lingual, employment team has considerable experience of providing confidential independent legal advice to senior executives in the City of London, including those with senior positions in the financial services industry, or who are executives at AIM listed or FTSE 250 companies.
Q&A on Settlement Agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements)
What is a settlement agreement?
A settlement agreement is a contract, regulated by statute, between an employer and an employee (or ex-employee) to settle a claim or a potential claims and/or to prevent the employee from instituting or continuing with employment proceedings in the employment tribunal (and other jurisdictions, such as the civil courts).
Why have I been asked to sign a settlement agreement?
It is increasingly common for employers to want all employees – regardless of seniority – to enter into a settlement agreement. Your employer will offer a financial sum to you in return for an effective waiver of all claims (these are often listed in a separate annex) against your employer (and often group companies and named individuals) arising out of your employment and its termination.
Settlement agreements are commonly provided to employees where the employer wishes to avoid the publicity and costs of litigation attached to terminating an individual’s employment.
Why do I need independent legal advice?
For a settlement agreement to be valid and legally binding, it must meet the following criteria: it must be in writing; it must relate to a particular complaint or particular proceedings; and the employee must have received legal advice from a relevant independent adviser on the terms and effect of the proposed agreement; and its effect on the employee’s ability to pursue any rights before at an employment tribunal.
What does an independent legal adviser do?
As your independent legal adviser, our employment team will advise on the terms and effect of the settlement agreement, and in particular, its effect on your ability to bring a claim in the employment tribunal under the relevant legislation.
We can help you to negotiate the terms of your settlement agreement
If instructed to do so, we can develop a strategy negotiate to the terms of your settlement agreement.
What if we cannot agree terms of the settlement agreement?
If there is a dispute and the parties are not able to resolve the matter amicably, then we can advise you as to the merits and likely value of a claim.
How much does it cost to take advice on a settlement agreement?
Most employers will contribute towards your legal costs for taking independent advice on the settlement agreement.
We are open and transparent about of legal fees and terms of business. Our letter of engagement will set out details of our hourly charge rates, and the likely costs of the initial stages. For more information on costs of bringing a claim in the employment tribunal then please click on this link.
What documents will we need?
To make the process quicker, it would be helpful if you could put together a bundle of the following documents:
- The settlement agreement (in a Word file format if possible).
- Copies of any relevant correspondence (including emails) that you have received from your employer about the settlement agreement, and any grievances you have raised.
- Your service agreement/contract of employment.
- Relevant company policies or procedures – these are often included in a staff handbook.
- Details of any bonus/benefits/share schemes.
- Details of any regulatory positions that you hold.
Your employment history
We also need to know some details about your employment history including:
- Your start date and the reasons for any breaks in the contract (to calculate statutory period of continuous employment).
- Your date of birth (so as to calculate any statutory entitlements).
- Details of disciplinary records and/or performance appraisals.
- Details of any grievances, formal or informal, (if applicable).
- Your home address.
Administrative steps for new clients
We set out below a list of the initial administrative steps that we need to carry out for all new clients:
- Conflict check: We need to carry out a conflict check to ensure that there would not be a conflict of interest in representing you.
- Letter of Engagement: We need to send you a Letter of Engagement (LOE), and our terms and conditions of business. This will set out details of our hourly charge rates, and the likely costs of the initial stages. You will need to sign this and return it to us, along with any requested monies on account.
- ID Check: We will send you a note on the documents that we will require to verify your identity to comply with our know your client procedures.
Multi-lingual employment lawyers – We have a multi-lingual employment team, who can speak English, Danish, French and German, and we are well placed to assist senior executives of multi-national companies, especially in matters which require cross border advice. Employment Partner Edzard Clifton-Dey is dual qualified as Rechtsanwalt in Germany and solicitor in England & Wales.
The material contained in this guide is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances and before action is taken.