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21st March 2017, 13:46:PM #1
Negotiating a fair settlement after 15 years service and ill health
I've worked for my employer (local education authority) for 15 years, and have an outstanding employment record with numerous achievements and excellent results. However, these achievements were barely recognised by management, and were instead played down to avoid comparisons with other (less well-performing) staff. There have been instances of conflict with other staff which I appealed (unsuccessfully) with my manager to address, and misinformation spread amongst staff about my employment. My manager was put in place on a temporary basis (he's due for retirement soon) as my department is on the process of suffering cuts/mergers/redeployments so is essentially a 'yes man'.
This all led to me having a mental and physical breakdown a year ago. I've been signed off by a doctor ever since, have taken a course of therapy and am now on medication. Despite my employer offering me counselling via a third-party service they utilise, nothing has ever materialised. After several meetings with management (where they haven't actually formally solved any of my issues, apart from reminding me that the manager in question will be retiring soon), I reached the conclusion that my health was too important to risk returning to a potentially toxic environment, and have sought a managed exit (with union assistance).
I have been offered a standard settlement of 3 months (plus the usual contract preventing me from talking about the situation that caused me to leave/taking any further legal action). I don't believe this is an entirely fair amount, given that I have effectively lost my career as a result of poor management and lack of support. I'm trained to post-graduate level, have been employed in this company since graduating, have had no opportunity for advancement (there is none within my department), and have so completely lost faith in myself and my ability to undertake this job that I now feel the only option is to take up another career. In addition to having lost the 'day job', I also worked as a private tutor, but due to the breakdown I was unable to continue with that too.
My union rep has gone back to the employer asking for a larger figure (more than double their initial offer of c.£4.5k/3 months pay), which they have quickly refused. I'm in no financial/mental position to embark upon a lengthy legal process (especially if I'm unlikely to win), but at the same time I feel that 3 months salary for 15 years of good work, which I have only left due to lack of support is paltry. Any advice on what I should do would be most grateful.
21st March 2017, 21:47:PM #2
Re: Negotiating a fair settlement after 15 years service and ill health
Hi @Bronwyn. It sounds like they are asking you to sign a settlement agreement. If the local authority has initiated this then they should be offering you a financial package which should be greater than what I assume would be the notice period they would have to give you which for 15 years service is 12 weeks. The reasoning for this is you are giving up legal rights to make an employment tribunal claim about any type of claim which is listed in the agreement which has a value to the employer
As part of the settlement agreement process you must receive advice from a relevant independent adviser, such as a lawyer or a certified and authorised member of a trade union. The independent adviser must have a current contract of insurance or professional indemnity covering the risk of a claim by the employee in respect of loss arising from the advice. The reason for this is to safeguard your rights and provide you with advice about the merits of the agreement and whether it is fair to you under the circumstances.I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.
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