You may have never thought you’d hear the time that a lawyer told you to ignore the rules … but the team at Torque Law believe that, sometimes, it’s absolutely the right thing to do. We’re talking about situations where keeping an individual employed whilst you go through a formal and protracted process, like performance management or redundancy consultation may not be in the best interests of the business.
We advise employer clients to find the right balance between following a strict legal process and considering alternative routes. By having the right sort of discussion with employees, businesses are often able to reach a speedier conclusion, minimise management time and business disruption. Frequently, this is the best result for the employer’s organisational interests.
The formalities of any deal where the terms of an employee’s departure are agreed will nearly always be captured in a Settlement Agreement under which an employee waives their right to bring any claims relating to their employment or the way it ended.
Before any agreement is finalised, there’s a chance for both employer and employee to shape the deal around their priorities. There’s nearly always a sum of money paid to the employee, covering notice pay, holiday pay and a goodwill payment. On top of this employers often offer agreed form references and announcements as well as outplacement support. We often advise employers to make an initial offer which is fair and can be justified, rather than start a game of ping-pong with numbers.
On the flip side, when we’re helping senior employees to negotiate their exit terms, we’ll shape the package so that it works best for that individual – often focussing on what will help them to secure an alternative role as quickly and painlessly as possible, whilst making sure that they’ve been fairly compensated and don’t unfairly miss out on shares, options and bonuses.
Although that all sounds very easy, there are a couple of notes of caution:
know your legal position and therefore what value can fairly be apportioned to the risk that you’re trying to buy your way out of; and
get your ducks in a row and plan your timing – a bit of prior planning goes a long way.
We’ve put together a factsheet looking at issues which commonly crop up when it’s necessary for employers to consider a quick dismissal.