What to do if you are made redundant or dismissed

25th April 2018

Dismissal

If your employer has dismissed you from your job, there are a huge number of issues that can arise as a result. For example, you may believe that you have been unfairly dismissed, perhaps because they did not have a good reason for the dismissal or did not follow the proper procedures.

Even if you were not unfairly dismissed, you should still be aware of the rights you have in a dismissal situation.

Even if you were not unfairly dismissed, you should still be aware of the rights you have in a dismissal situation.

Redundancy

When an employer makes a worker redundant, there are certain processes and procedures they have to follow to ensure they stay on the right side of employment law. Employees who are being made redundant may have specific rights to things such as notice periods, redundancy pay, and offers of alternative employment.

Resignation

If you’re thinking of resigning from your job, whatever the reason might be, you should prepare yourself by reading up on your rights as a departing employee and the procedures your employer is expected to follow once you decide to leave.

Settlement agreements

Settlement agreements, sometimes known as severance agreements or termination agreements, can be entered into when an employee leaves employment - for example, through dismissal or redundancy. The purpose is to settle any claims the employee may have upon their leaving.

They can also serve as a means of settling other types of employment claims (e.g. claims of discrimination or harassment) against an employer, irrespective of whether the employment relationship has ended.

Entering into a settlement agreement involves the employee signing an agreement promising that they will not make any claims (e.g. for unfair dismissal) against the employer. In doing this the employee agrees to waive their rights to bring a claim against their employer.

However, not all claims can be settled by way of settlement agreements.

Entering into a settlement agreement involves the employee signing an agreement promising that they will not make any claims.

Generally, a settlement agreement is the only way an employee can waive their rights to pursue their statutory employment rights. An exception to this is when a settlement is reached following ACAS conciliation.

Advantages of settlement agreements

Settlement agreements are attractive to employers as they mean they do not have to worry about any repercussions such as employment tribunals, and can also be desirable for employees as they may receive a handsome sum in compensation.

Settlement agreements can be considered tantamount to the employer ‘paying off’ the employee to ensure no dispute will arise over dismissal, or to settle an issue which has already become apparent.

Another point in favour of settlement agreements is the ease and quickness with which they can be arranged, reducing the tumult for both sides and negating the need for court action.

The role of solicitors and other advisers

When a settlement agreement is drawn up, one condition is that the employee or worker must have received advice from an independent adviser. This adviser should be a qualified lawyer (such as a solicitor or barrister), a certified trade union or advice centre representative, or a person of such description as specified by order.

It is normal practice for the adviser to sign a certificate or letter to confirm that they have provided the employee with advice on the terms and effect of the agreement upon them, and upon the effect of the agreement on the employee's ability to pursue claims before the employment tribunal. This certificate will also confirm that the adviser has the necessary insurance in place in respect of the advice given.

Ordinarily the adviser will provide advice on the amount of compensation that should be expected. The settlement agreement cannot be enforced unless the employee has received the required advice from an independent adviser.

Content of a settlement agreement

Examples of terms that a settlement agreement may contain include:

  • An amount of compensation offered to the employee
  • Assurances given by both the employer and employee
  • Indication that all terms have been accepted by the employee and that they will not take legal action in future
  • A letter of reference which can be used by the employee in future job applications.
  • A ‘non-compete’ clause which places some restriction on the type of jobs the employee is able to apply for in the future
  • Payment of tax
  • Confidentiality clause – i.e. that you cannot disclose some or all of the claims to anybody

The amount of compensation is purely down to the two parties and what they can agree to.

Rejecting the settlement agreement

The employee absolutely has the right to reject any offer of settlement, either on principle or because they feel the compensation offered is insufficient. In the case of inadequate financial remuneration, the employee can negotiate another settlement or pursue their claim to an employment tribunal.

The amount of compensation is purely down to the two parties and what they can agree to.

Dismissal from work

In the majority of cases, if your employer wants to dismiss you from your job, they are required by law to follow certain procedures to ensure that everything is done fairly. Make sure you know your employment rights in a dismissal situation.

April 2018 Learn more
What you need to know about constructive & wrongful dismissal

If you feel forced to resign, this may count as constructive dismissal. If you are dismissed in breach of the terms of your employment contract, this is known as wrongful dismissal.

April 2018 Learn more
What to do if you are being discriminated against at work

Everyone has the right not to be subjected to discrimination at work. In this article we look at what characteristics are protected by discrimination legislation.

April 2018 Learn more

Read more from the DAS Law blog

Employment disputes Can your boss force you to work the August Bank Holiday?

Can you refuse to work on a bank holiday? DAS Law’s Hannah Parsons outlines your rights.

August 2019
Employment disputes , Goods and services disputes , Professional services disputes Is the customer always right when it comes to alcohol and pregnancy?

A recent Reddit post sparked debate on personal accountability and the rights of serving staff when it comes to alcohol. Larna Mason explains what the law says.

August 2019
Employment disputes What employers should do during a heatwave

What are an employer's obligations to employees when the weather gets too hot? Hannah Parsons gives the lowdown.

July 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business How working time regulations can limit your employees’ hours

A study by French researchers has highlighted some of the health risks faced by those working long hours. Sarah Garner, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the specific rules and regulations regarding the working day.

July 2019
Employment disputes When should a condition be classified as a disability?

DAS Law Senior Associate and Legal Executive Tessa Faverty considers this crucial question, drawing on her professional expertise, and personal experience.

June 2019
Employment disputes Can an employer ban working from home?

A recent ban on working from home at BNY Mellon raised questions about what an employee’s rights are when it comes to working from home.

June 2019
Employment disputes Scope of ‘injury to feelings’ expanded by employment tribunal

In employment law, awards for ‘injury to feelings’ have historically been permitted only in claims linked to discrimination, whistleblowing, and trade union membership, but the situation may now have changed.

May 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business When can company directors be personally liable?

The recent High Court case of Antzuzis & Others v DJ Houghton Catching Services & Others is a stark reminder of how company directors can be personally liable for their acts.

May 2019
Employment disputes 10 employment law changes to look out for

Hayley Marles highlights ten changes that HR professionals & business owners need to be aware of, including Brexit immigration rule changes.

April 2019
Employment disputes , Protecting your business 6 tips for giving your business a “spring clean”

Are your staff handbooks up-to-date? Are your staff taking all of their holiday allowance? Give your business a spring clean with these six tips for a clean and tidy SME.

April 2019
Employment disputes Don’t get in trouble with the law on April Fool’s Day

When does the line between hilarious and harsh get crossed and can a prank turn into legal proceedings?

March 2019
Employment disputes What to do if your employer stops you working from home

Lindsey Hunt, Legal Adviser at DAS Law, provides some insight regarding employees and their right to work from home.

March 2019
Employment disputes The Big Gig Rejig – what employers should know about the gig economy

DAS Law Solicitor John Griffiths explains what the ‘gig economy’ means and how businesses can help themselves today when it comes to clearly defining the status of their people.

March 2019