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Employee Law Case Studies

Case Study: Confidentiality, DPA, Unfair dismissal, disciplinary, grievance, settlement

An individual had been subjected to allegations relating to drugs within the transport industry. During the investigation into the allegations, the Company breached the confidentiality of the individual by testing him in front of the workforce, thus breaching their policy and procedure in dealing with drug testing and allowing others to know about a positive result, thus damaging the individual’s longstanding, impeccable reputation. He was suspended and sent to the GP for a further test which was clear, yet the Company insisted on having a company travel over four hours to take a third sample, which again came back clear. The Company failed to treat the individual with dignity when carrying out the test and failed to manage the situation respectfully. The individual was provided with advice throughout the grievance procedure which resulted in an admission by the Company of their failures within the process. Settlement negotiations were carried out for the induvial and a satisfactory outcome was obtained.

Case Study: Agreeing a Settlement Agreement

Huw had worked for a well-established welsh company for just under 5 years. He had an unblemished work record and built an impressive reputation both inside and outside the organization. However, when a new line manager joined, Huw found that the new manager was threatened by Huw’s standing. After a few months the line manager produced an investigation report alleging performance and behavioural issues citing a complete breakdown of the working relationship.

In addition to the investigation report the company opened pre-termination negotiations with a view to terminating Huw’s employment. They offered a Settlement Agreement which included a payment in lieu of contractual notice, accrued holiday and an ex-gratia payment of £2,000.They informed Huw that if the offer was not accepted he would be invited to a formal meeting with a view to terminating his employment due to the ‘breakdown in relationship’.

Huw sought advice from Howells on the terms of the agreement. We advised him that the events leading up to his current position could give rise to a number of potential claims against the Company including a breach of the mutually implied term of trust and confidence arising from the one sided nature of the investigation report and there having been no attempt by the Company to raise any matters previously. Huw understandably no longer wanted to remain with the Company and he was advised that there was significant scope for obtaining a larger sum.

Huw instructed us to write to the company on a without prejudice basis. In his letter we told the Company that he did not consider one month’s salary to be adequate compensation and set out the flaws in their process and the terms upon which Huw would be prepared to depart.

As a result the Company increased its offer to include an ex-gratia payment of £10,000 and mutually agreed reference which Huw was happy to accept.

When you receive a Settlement Agreement, you do not always have to accept the first offer that is made. Very often there is room for negotiation.

Case Study: Contract of Employment

A former client had been offered a new role and asked us to check his new Contract of Employment before he signed it. The terms of the Contract were standard but we noticed that the restrictive covenants were a little harsh and gave the client advice on how he could approach his potential new employer and suggestions to put to them. The suggestions were agreed by the new employer and both parties were happy. So if you have been offered a new role, we are happy to check the terms of your Contract of Employment.

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