Sally Hubbard

sallyhubbard

Sally Hubbard is the Head of the Employment Law Team at Ringrose Law. The team is made up of dedicated and experienced specialists, helping both employees and employers with their work related issues. Sally has specialised in Employment Law for her entire career, and has represented countless clients at the Employment Tribunal.


There can sometimes come a point when employers and employees decide to go their separate ways. This could be as a result of a dispute, redundancy process or just a decision to part company.

Often the employee will be required to sign a Settlement Agreement (formally known as a Compromise Agreement) when leaving their employer’s business. For most, these agreements are straightforward.

However, there are times when employees are not being offered sufficient compensation for their claims, or occasionally they have been misled about the agreement. In those circumstances, further help is needed.

What is a Settlement Agreement?

This is a binding contract between you and your employer whereby you agree not to bring a claim against them, usually in exchange for a compensation payment. There are a number of formalities for such an agreement, for example, you must receive independent legal advice before signing.

What rights am I giving away?

The employer will include within the agreement any claims they consider you may have against them. Usually, claims such as unfair dismissal, redundancy payments etc are specifically mentioned. When you have signed the Settlement Agreement you have agreed not to pursue those claims.

Is my compensation enough?

Only you can decide whether you are satisfied with the amount of compensation you will receive. However, before signing, it is important that you tell your solicitor about any problems you have had at work. You should then receive advice about the claims you may have and the potential value of those claims. Only then can you make an informed decision about whether to sign.

Do I have to sign a Settlement Agreement to receive statutory redundancy pay and notice?

Absolutely not! If you have been made redundant by your employer there are minimum rights and entitlements. You do not have to agree no to purse a claim against your employer just to access those rights.

Sally Hubbard is the Head of the Employment Law Team at Ringrose Law. The team is made up of dedicated and experienced specialists, helping both employees and employers with their work related issues. Sally has specialised in Employment Law for her entire career, and has represented countless clients at the Employment Tribunal.

The world of the Employment Lawyer is about to change. At the end of this month, for the first time, the Employment Tribunal will charge a fee to anyone wishing to submit a claim.

This decision has been met with huge controversy. The idea that employees will now have to pay to enforce their statutory rights in respect of unfair dismissal, redundancy pay and discrimination etc has not received universal approval. However, given the current economic situation, it is not surprising the Government is trying to find ways of recovering some of the cost of Employment Tribunal cases.

History lesson

Industrial Tribunals were first established under the Industrial Training Act 1964; initially they dealt with appeals by employers against training levies. The powers and scope of Industrial Tribunals grew and they began to deal with all kinds of workplace disputes including unfair dismissal, salary rights, redundancy pay, discrimination and others. In 1998, Industrial Tribunals became Employment Tribunals and their jurisdiction increased further.

Employment Tribunals have never charged a fee to employees wanting to bring a claim against their employer. However, from July 29, 2013, this will change. Employees will be charged a fee when they submit their claim form and a further Hearing fee before their claim comes to trial. The amount of the fee will depend on the type of claim.

Will there definitely be fees?

Unions have sought to challenge the introduction of fees at the Employment Tribunal stating that they are disproportionate and discriminatory. At the time of writing, we do not know whether that challenge has been successful. What we do know is that time rushes ever forward and it would therefore be prudent to expect fees to be payable from July 29, whilst at the same time keeping our eyes peeled for any last minute reprieve.

Will everyone have to pay a fee?

Whilst there will be provisions in place for employees who cannot afford Employment Tribunal fees, these exemptions will be limited. Also, the Employment Tribunal expect employers to refund fees to employees once their claims are successful; however the employee must find the money “up front” to submit their claim in the first place. Only time will tell how successful employees will be in recovering the fees they have paid from their employer.

Will fees make that much difference?

By way of example, if we had two identical employees, with two identical claims of unfair dismissal and one waited until July 29 to submit their claim:

Claim sent on or before July 28 2013
No Issue Fee – £0
No Hearing Fee – £0
Total – £0

Claim sent on or after July 29 2013
Issue Fee – £250.00
Hearing Fee – £950.00
Total – £1,200

The moral of the story?

As ever, your view of the Employment Tribunal and fees will most likely depend upon whether you are an employer or an employee. For employers, the introduction of fees (along with a number of other measures) may impact upon any decisions made in respect of staff. For employees, the introduction of fees may make the difference between whether they can or cannot afford to pursue their claims.

Sally Hubbard is the Head of the Employment Law Team at Ringrose Law. The team is made up of dedicated and experienced specialists, helping both employees and employers with their work related issues. Sally has specialised in Employment Law for her entire career, and has represented countless clients at the Employment Tribunal.

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