Harassment Claims and Settlement Agreements

I’ve raised a grievance for harassment and they’ve offered me a Settlement Agreement. Should I sign it?

Put simply, your employer is probably trying to avoid a tribunal. By getting you to sign a Settlement Agreement they are effectively wanting you to give up your right to one. A Settlement Agreement is a legal contract between you and your employer which can cover many aspects with respect to you leaving. But an employer will often look for complete confidentiality in the matter. The thing to realise is that you DON’T have to sign it, and you MUST get independent legal advice before you do.

What will an adviser help you with?

An independent legal adviser will be able to assess your harassment claims and help you work out if what you’re being offered is fair. They’ll also be able to help you decide whether to continue with your claim to tribunal, or accept a negotiated deal and leave. Before you’ve signed the Settlement Agreement all options remain open to you.

An independent legal adviser will also be able to:

  • Guide you on how to conduct discussions with your employer (and, if appropriate, undertake these discussions on your behalf) such that you don’t compromise your ability to take your grievance to tribunal if you decide to do so.
  • Negotiate more compensation (if applicable) and other things you may not have thought of, such as obtaining a reference. This costs your employer little but can be of great benefit to you.
  • Investigate what holiday and bonus entitlements you have, and ensure you don’t lose out if you leave.
  • Work out how the payment to you can be as tax efficient as possible.
  • Seek to negotiate with your employer to get them to contribute more than originally was on offer to cover your legal costs.
  • If necessary, offer you other funding options (including no win, no fee in some cases).

What else should you consider?

Every case is unique, so there will be many things you need to discuss with your independent legal adviser and weigh up.

  • Do you actually want to keep your job?
  • How strong is your harassment case?
  • Is what is on offer in the Settlement Agreement actually fair and reasonable?
  • What will you do next?
  • Is the stress of a tribunal actually outweighed by the offer on the table?

If you’ve initiated a grievance, and your employer has responded by offering you a Settlement Agreement, it’s critical you take advice before you have any further discussions with them. Don’t delay. It really will make a difference to the outcome for you.


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