A time comes in most people’s careers where they need to think about changing jobs; be that to climb the employment ladder, to achieve a better work life balance, or because of ongoing disputes.
If your exit from your employer is likely to be contentious, it could lead to claims in the Employment Tribunal. If you have concerns about restrictive covenants there can be a lot of value in taking expert legal advice on your situation, so you can be clear of what you can and can’t do when you leave.
If you are looking to leave because you have problems at work, we can advise on what claims you may be able to bring and how best to pursue them. We can also provide expert advice on how best to approach a negotiated exit and, where appropriate, protected conversations and Settlement Agreements.
Disputes between Directors are invariably commercially sensitive and can have serious implications, especially when a Director is leaving a business.
From the business’ point of view, they need to consider the potential financial liability of any claims that may arise, and the extent to which the departing Director may damage the business, for example by working for a competitor, or taking clients or senior staff with them.
From the departing Director’s point of view, they need to consider the financial risks of engaging in litigation, and ensuring that they are free to work without any incumbrances.
Our commercial employment team have a wealth of experience in advising senior employees on exit strategy, negotiating settlement agreements and, where appropriate, pursuing claims in the Employment Tribunal and High Court.
We also regularly advise senior employees and Directors on the enforceability of restrictive covenants and any related litigation.
Protected conversations are a tool that allow employers, in certain circumstances, to have “off the record” conversations with employees in order to settle a dispute and, more often than not, to terminate the employee’s employment under a Settlement Agreement.
Generally speaking, if your employer has proposed that your employment will terminate under a Settlement Agreement this conversation must remain confidential. It can only be relied on in subsequent Employment Tribunal proceedings if the employer’s conduct has been improper or discriminatory in nature.
Settlement Agreements, previously known as Compromise Agreements, are offered to employees or workers to settle potential claims in the Employment Tribunal without the need to bring proceedings. They can be offered to people who will remain in their jobs after the Settlement Agreement has been agreed, but invariably Settlement Agreements will lead to the individual leaving the company’s employment.
When signing a Settlement Agreement the individual waives their right to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal. With that, any individual who has been offered a Settlement Agreement must take independent legal advice on the content so they can be sure that they understand the implications and that they are getting a fair deal.
Employers will usually offer a Settlement Agreement following a protected conversation. If you have been offered a Settlement Agreement by your employer our experts will be able to provide you with advice on what the agreement means and also, where necessary, negotiate a better package on your behalf. The employer will usually contribute towards your legal costs so you are not out of pocket.
As well as acting for individual Settlement Agreements, we also advise groups of employees, for example, when they are affected by large scale redundancy.