You need to be prepared for the possibility that in the days running up to an employment tribunal case – or even in the waiting room during the morning of the hearing – your employer or its legal representatives could approach you offering to reach a Last Minute Settlement.
This is far from uncommon. It will most likely happen if your employer has made the calculation that it is likely to lose. Exposing it to a level of compensation beyond its control and potential embarrassment.
But of course, however strong your case is, there is never any guarantee that you will win. And as the saying goes, ‘a bird in the hand …’.
What should you do?
Your employer will know that as the tribunal hearing gets closer and closer, you will be feeling increasingly nervous. It will look to exploit your vulnerability, by trying to persuade you to withdraw or settle your case. Especially if you are representing yourself.
But don’t let yourself be intimidated. Remember – your employer wouldn’t be making you an offer if it didn’t think there was a chance it could lose – however brazen and confident it may appear to be. If you are being represented, your solicitor or union official can negotiate any last minute settlement on your behalf.
How much is acceptable?
Because a last minute settlement is possible, you should be prepared. Have a clear idea in advance of what outcome you are seeking from your employment tribunal case. And what you would accept to avoid the risk of receiving no compensation at all.
You can certainly make an estimate of the likely Basic Award and Compensatory Award you could possibly receive. See our page on employment tribunals for details.
But you will also want to make a realistic assessment of your chances of success. Only then will you be able to come up with a figure for what you believe would be acceptable compensation to drop proceedings.
What is involved?
If, very late in the day, you are to accept a last minute settlement with your employer, be sure that all details are absolute clear to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if anything isn’t. You need to understand the full implications of anything you are agreeing to.
If you are to reach agreement, you must insist on this being officially recorded by the employment tribunal. Then, if your employer subsequently reneges on its agreement with you, you are in a much stronger position to enforce your agreement.
What is known as a COT3 agreement can be reached between when you begin employment tribunal proceedings and your hearing date.
COT3 Agreements are usually far simpler than Settlement Agreements and can only be reached through ACAS. They are recorded using a standard ACAS form and serve as a legally-binding contract between you and your employer.
We provide further details here on COT3 Agreements and how these agreements can be legally enforced.
The high-quality workplace representation WRS provide will maximise your chances of success. We lay the groundwork to succeed with an employment tribunal claim. And to influence the amount of compensation you can receive in an out-of-court settlement.
We can assist you in negotiating the terms of a Settlement Agreement or last minute settlement. And we can recommend a solicitor to finalise the arrangements.