Our Employment Legal Hour is hosted by Joanna Sutton, Senior Associate in our Employment Department.​

If you require further help regarding employment law please phone us on 01279 755777 or contact Joanna Sutton directly.

Our Employment Law Team will be hosting the Nockolds Legal Hour on the following dates:

Wednesday 5th July 2017 12pm - 1pm 
Wednesday 16th August 2017 12pm - 1pm 
Wednesday 27th September  12pm - 1pm
Wednesday 8th November 2017  12pm - 1pm 


Our Latest Legal Hour Questions (05.07.17)

Read your previously answered questions here
My new employer retracted my job offer when they found out I am 6 months pregnant. I haven’t even started in the role yet, what can I do?

Pregnancy and maternity are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and it is therefore unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a woman by treating her unfavourably due to pregnancy or maternity leave. If your new employer had formally offered you the position and then retracted the offer because of your pregnancy, this is discrimination.  The fact that you had not started in the role is irrelevant as unless there were conditions attached to the job offer which have not been fulfilled, a binding contract exists between you and any attempt to withdraw the job offer would be a breach of contract.  Even if you had not been formally offered the job you might still have had a discrimination claim against the Company if you had reason to believe that you were unsuccessful in your job application because of your pregnancy. 

You should firstly notify ACAS of what has happened and the fact that you believe you have been discriminated against. This is known as ‘early conciliation’ and must be done before you can bring a claim in an Employment Tribunal. ACAS would then contact your employer and see if they wish to discuss proposals to reach a settlement with you. If that is unsuccessful you must bring your claim against the Company within 3 months less a day of the discriminatory act e.g. the date your job offer was retracted. In the event that your claim is successful, you could be awarded compensation for your unfair dismissal and for the injury to your feelings caused by the discrimination, the amount of which depends on the circumstances of each case. 

I am 65 and looking to retire in the very near future. I approached my employer and they have mentioned the possibility of a Settlement Agreement, what is that?

Settlement Agreements, formally known as Compromise Agreements, are legally binding contracts between an employee and their employer and set out the terms upon which the employee’s employment will terminate.  Typically such agreements offer an employee a sum of money for the employee to give up any potential claims they may have against their employer such as unfair dismissal, discrimination or breach of contract, amongst others. The agreement will often contain other terms such as the employee’s termination date, notice pay, outstanding holiday pay entitlement, return of company property and an ongoing duty of confidentiality.

Settlement Agreements are used in a wide variety of circumstances when an employment relationship is coming to an end. You must take legal advice upon the terms of such an Agreement in order for it to be legally binding and usually your employer would pay for such advice. Once your employer has provided you with a copy of the draft Agreement they should allow you at least 10 calendar days to consider the terms and take legal advice. Often you will be paid an enhanced payment under the terms of the Agreement, which may benefit from favourable tax treatment and you may also be able to leave sooner rather than later, if you wish to, by receiving a payment in lieu of your notice period, rather than working it.