There is growing evidence that some employers at least are trying to influence their staff to avoid getting a genuinely independent solicitor to advise on their compromise agreement. Amongst examples circulated between compromise agreement solicitors recently are the following highly dubious practices;
- Employers sending all of their staff who are up for redundancy to just one law firm – with some evidence that those redundant staff were put under pressure by the solicitor who was giving the compromise agreement advice[and you should, at least in theory, be acting in the interests of the employee alone], to sign away rights to bring an work accident compensation claim.
- Employers refusing to contribute, or pay for the compromise agreement advice unless it was provided by a law firm already approved by the employer
- Pressure being put by employers on redundant staff not to instruct their independent solicitors to seek any variation to the standard form of compromise agreement as provided by the business
Just to remind you of the legal position – a compromise agreement is only valid if the person signing it, and therefore signing away their rights to any claim against their employer, receives independent legal advice on that agreement. So any employer, putting pressure on their employees in the ways above, or in any other ways, risks ending up with the worst of both worlds – having paid some form of compensation upon signature of the compromise agreement, if their actions result in the failure of the employee to take genuinely independent advice, the compromise agreement could be held invalid with the result that the employee would retain the right to make an employment tribunal claim [for unfair dismissal for example] against the ex-employer.
Our employment solicitors are specialists in UK compromise agreements – you can rely on them to provide the expert and genuinely independent legal advice you need. Alternatively, you might want to visit our dedicated website at http://www.compromiseagreementsolicitorsuk.co.uk