Case study: Redmans help employee settle discrimination claims for £15,000 sum plus reference

Summary

How Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, represented a client in settlement agreement negotiations and secured an ex-gratia payment of £15,000 for the client.

Situation

Rachel (not her real name) worked as a tailor. During the course of her employment, Rachel formed the view that she was being treated unreasonably by the owner of the business and she was offended by various comments that were made about women and her nationality. She felt like she was being ostracised and marginalized by the owner of the business, and she believed that she was being bullied and harassed.

Rachel was extremely with the owner’s conduct and contacted Redmans to see if she could obtain some specialist legal help. She spoke to Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment team at Redmans.

What we did

When Rachel contacted the employment team at Redmans she wanted to see what could be done about her situation at work – she loved the job that she worked in and was proud of her skills as a tailor, but she thought she might have to leave the business because of the owner’s conduct towards her.

Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment team at Redmans, discussed Rachel’s matter with her and helped her with her case.

Chris explained to Rachel that the bulling conduct that she had been subjected to could form the basis for a constructive dismissal claim, and that the comments that had been made about women and her nationality could constitute harassment (under the Equality Act 2010). Chris helped Rachel to draft a formal grievance letter complaining about the conduct that she had been subjected to, and Rachel submitted this. Chris also drafted a formal letter from Redmans to the business (a ‘without prejudice’ settlement letter) putting Rachel’s case and demanding that Rachel be provided with certain benefits for settling her potential Employment Tribunal claims.

The result

After a lengthy period of negotiation spanning over a number of months with the business (and then the business’ solicitors) it was agreed that Rachel would be given a confidential settlement package, including the payment of her notice pay, an ex-gratia (tax-free) payment of £15,000, a substantial sum in respect of accrued but untaken holiday,  mutual confidentiality clauses, a letter of apology regarding the treatment she had been subjected to, and the provision of an agreed reference by Rachel’s employers after she left. Settlement agreement terms were subsequently agreed and signed. It was also agreed that the business would cover Rachel’s legal fees up to £1,000 plus VAT.

Chris Hadrill, the partner at Redmans who assisted Rachel with her case, commented: “If you have been subjected to discriminatory treatment at work, or you believe you have been bullied or harassed, then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible (as the Employment Tribunal has strict time limits in place for bringing claims). In addition to seeking legal advice, it is normally (but not always) recommended that you submit a formal written grievance complaining of the conduct that you have been subjected to – this will normally help to strengthen your claims, with an eye on potential litigation in the Employment Tribunal. However, Employment Tribunal claims are generally the last resort as it is always preferable to see whether a case can be resolved without having to resort to litigation (whether in the Employment Tribunal or otherwise).”