Example of maternity leave & redundancy

S had been on maternity leave.  She (and others) were at risk of redundancy.  S argued there was a suitable alternative position and she should be offered it.  The employer refused. S put in a grievance – on advice. As a result, her employer would not engage with her while the formal grievance process was still going on. She sought our advice.

I suggested that she ask to put the grievance on hold to see if a solution could be found. Although S was not offered the original job she wanted, she was then offered another permanent job on the same terms and conditions.  This happened after she wrote a letter setting out her disappointment but also saying she wanted to move on to resolve things.  S accepted the job – not without some nervousness about whether it would work. Fortunately, it did ; 18 months later S wrote to me to say the job had worked out.

The lesson for lawyers who are used to litigating, as I once was, is that most clients will get more of what they want through constructive dialogue with their employer – with a little help and coaching on the side from a lawyer.

Sadly, few clients remain employed as they come to us too late.  Even so, we often negotiate substantial exit packages worth 6-12 months’ salary.

Example of Settlement Agreement

T had worked for a large company for eight months but, after his probationary period had expired, was told that the contract was not working out.   He was told his performance was inadequate, without any prior warning, even though his department was doing well financially and he was meeting his targets. He was put on garden leave for three months, but not given his full notice pay. He was offered a settlement agreement and sought our advice.

YESS suggested that, while he had no rights to claim unfair dismissal because he hadn’t worked there for two years, he could argue that he had rights under his contract of employment which the company should honour. This included his full notice pay and bonuses based on performance. YESS advised he should also ask for a good reference and that he should try to negotiate directly with his employer, with YESS advising him behind the scenes.

The result was that T reached an amicable settlement, with his full notice pay, bonuses and a further tax-free “termination” payment to compensate him for losing his job.  He also had a good reference which helped him find a new job.

While legal advice on the final terms is an essential part of a settlement agreement getting lawyers involved directly in negotiations doesn’t always pay.  An amicable agreement between two former colleagues may be far easier to achieve when the client negotiates directly with their boss, but with advice behind the scenes.

Life's too short to litigate