What does ‘without prejudice’ mean?

Focus on Settlement Agreements

In this series of articles I am going to focus on Settlement Agreements and answer the most Frequently Asked Questions that you may have. If there are any questions that are not covered please leave a comment, or send an email, tweet or Facebook message and I will add the answer.

 

My Employer said that it is ‘Without Prejudice’, what does this mean?

Without prejudice means that a statement or discussions which are made in a genuine attempt to settle a dispute are prevented from being disclosed to the Employment Tribunal or Court as evidence.  It therefore offers you and your Employer the opportunity to have discussions about settlement without running the risk that it could prejudice any claim or defence if an agreement is not reached.

Prior to July 2013 you could only rely on the ‘Without Prejudice’ rule if there was a genuine dispute at the time of the discussions. From July 2013 however, the government introduced ‘protected conversations’ to employment law to allow the ‘Without Prejudice’ rule to apply to settlement discussions even where there is no dispute.

This means that discussions between you and your Employer on a without prejudice basis cannot be used as evidence in respect of a claim for unfair dismissal. There are some exceptions to this rule, depending upon the type of claim you may have, also if the Employer behaves in an improper manner the discussions between you could be used as evidence.

For example : the Employer states that if you do not accept the terms offered they will make up a reason to dismiss you; or they state that if you do not accept the offer your life at work will be miserable and you will be bullied.

In order to ensure the ‘Without Prejudice’ rule applies any emails or letters between you and your Employer about settlement should be marked ‘Without Prejudice & Subject to Contract’.

 Settlement Agreement

Where can I find more information?

ACAS have produced a code of practice which can be found on their website www.acas.org.uk which contains information about how a Settlement Agreement should be prepared and the discussions that take place around the Settlement Agreement.

Alternatively you can give me a call on 023 80982006, 01983 897003 or 07969 598080. I can also be contacted by email on Alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

 

Have you been given a Settlement Agreement and want to arrange an appointment to discuss ?

I offer appointments that are convenient for you & we can discuss your Settlement Agreement: in person, on the telephone, via Skype or facetime.

I can meet with you face to face in Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Winchester, Fareham, Isle of Wight and surrounding areas.

Just give me a call, drop me an email, or send me a message via Facebook or twitter and we can arrange the best time and means of communication for you.

By Alison Colley

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