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Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors, providing quality legal advice throughout the UK and beyond.

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Contracts

Every employee will work under terms and conditions of employment which are agreed between an employer and an employee.

A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding contract entered into between an employer and an employee. They are regularly used in employment where there is some form of dispute between the parties. The purpose of a Settlement Agreement is to record in writing the terms agreed on between the parties to settle that dispute, e.g. in respect of the employee’s termination of employment or any other workplace issue (such as alleged discrimination or unpaid wages).

While the majority of settlement agreements regulate the termination of an employee’s employment, they do not need to do this: they can be used to resolve any potential employment claim the employee has, even where the employment relationship is to continue.

Settlement agreements can be used at any stage of a dispute, including after an Employment Tribunal claim has been raised.

Why use a Settlement Agreement?

Settlement Agreements can often be an attractive means of resolving a dispute so as to avoid claims being raised before an Employment Tribunal. They allow the parties to arrive at a resolution at an early stage so as to avoid the time, inconvenience and cost that would otherwise be incurred should an employee’s claim proceed to the Employment Tribunal. They also provide parties with a better opportunity to keep control of a situation, through negotiation of a compromised settlement, rather than run the risk of being unsuccessful at tribunal.

What does a Settlement Agreement actually do?

In signing a Settlement Agreement, an employee is agreeing to waive their right to enforce a particular legal right and to pursue a claim against their employer. In return, the employer will provide the employee with some form of consideration (usually although not always financial compensation) to compensate them for waiving that right.

There are certain requirements that a Settlement Agreement must fulfil to be valid and legally binding:

  1. It must be in writing;
  1. It must relate to a particular employment complaint (or complaints) or employment proceedings;
  1. The employee must have received independent legal advice (usually from a solicitor) as to the effect of his acceptance of the agreement on his ability to pursue the rights being waived;
  1. The agreement must identify the relevant laws governing Settlement Agreements and state that their requirements have been complied with; and
  1. The parties must sign the Settlement Agreement.

So long as these requirements are met, there will be a legally binding agreement. However, parties are free to include such other terms and conditions as they agree between them. Common examples of other matters that are regulated in a Settlement Agreement include:

  • Confidentiality;
  • Post termination restrictions;
  • What contribution (if any) the employer will make towards the employee’s legal fees in taking the required legal advice;
  • The provision of a reference; and
  • Tax issues.

However, there are no restrictions on what relevant issues can be covered off.

Advantages for employees?

A Settlement Agreement allows an employee to receive compensation in respect of some dispute or complaint which may have arisen during the course of employment. This allows the employee to avoid bringing costly and time consuming employment tribunal claims as well avoiding the risk that a tribunal may not find in the employee’s favour. Where the employee’s employment has terminated, resolving matters in this way can also ensure that the employee receives some form of income when they are out of work without receiving a regular wage.

Advantages for employers?

Use of Settlement Agreements can be commercially advantageous, allowing an employer to avoid the costs and potentially negative publicity associated with defending any employment claims brought by a disgruntled employee. The effect of a valid and legally binding Settlement Agreement precludes an employment tribunal hearing any claims later brought by that employee. Use of a Settlement Agreement allows an employer to settle any such claims and employee has at that time, but it is also routine for Settlement Agreements to also prevent an employee bringing certain other types of

Cumulatively, a Settlement Agreement often represents a clean break for both employer and employee. For an employer, knowing that a potential legal challenge is avoided can help free up time and resources for actually running their business and serving your customers or clients.

How Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help?

While incredibly useful, there are a variety of issues and factors which arise through the use of Settlement Agreements which must be considered. The one thing that parties must ensure is that the agreement properly sets out what has been agreed and all related issues are properly covered off. A defective agreement can cause significant headaches for both parties.

Our experienced employment lawyers can provide comprehensive and tailored advice on Settlement Agreements for employers and employees alike, guiding you through the common issues that arise where a Settlement Agreement in under consideration, as well as advising you of the effect any Settlement Agreement will have on yourself or your business.

Contact our Settlement Agreement Solicitors Glasgow

Contact our Employment law solicitors in Glasgow for advice on Settlement Agreements or any other employment issue you may have. Contact us today.

Change can bring uncertainty: Mergers, takeovers, privatisation, selling a business or outsourcing can all create unrest and uncertainty in the workplace, for both employers and employees.

What TUPE means and how it might affect you or your business

When an employer transfers all or part of their business to another entity, employees employed within that business should automatically transfer over to the new employer and their terms and conditions should remain the same.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (or TUPE for short) were designed to protect employees against unfair treatment when they transfer over to another employer.

Matters can become even more complicated where a business seeks to outsource a particular function, change a contractor who provides a particular service or bring a particular function back in house (described by TUPE as a “service provision change”). TUPE includes a series of rules which mean that any of these actions would also create rights for employees and obligations for employers to preserve employment relationships and terms and conditions of employment.

Whenever a business is to be transferred or be party to a service provision change, planning is key to enable all potential costs, obligations and legal liabilities to be addressed. Furthermore, where a TUPE transfer is taking place, employers have a distinct obligation to inform and consult with employees affected by that transfer about any measures which may be taken in respect of their employment.

TUPE is one of the most complicated areas of employment law and we have a great deal of expertise in advising clients on the issues that need to be considered to ensure their legal rights and obligations are properly considered.

Expert Employment Law assistance and advice.

Contact our expert Employment Law solicitors in Glasgow today on 01412211919

Every employee will work under terms and conditions of employment. The most obvious way in which these terms and conditions are agreed between an employer and an employee is by the employer issuing a written document which covers all of the more fundamental terms which will apply during the employment relationship.

Statement of employment particulars

As a minimum, an employer has a statutory duty to provide an employee with a written statement of employment particulars which confirms certain basic information in respect of the employment. This statement should be provided within 2 months of the start of employment and includes:

  • The names of the parties;
  • The date when the employment began;
  • Job title;
  • The employee’s rate of pay and the intervals at which this payable;
  • Hours of work;
  • Holiday entitlement;
  • Notice entitlement with regards to termination of employment;
  • Details of any rules that apply to sickness absence; and
  • Any pension entitlement.

However, there are a number of other matters which the parties may wish to regulate, so as to ensure all terms and conditions which are agreed upon are properly set out.

By issuing a more detailed contract of employment, an employer can ensure parties properly understand their rights and liabilities, which can avoid costly disputes from arising further down the line.

In certain situations, an employer will have no ability or discretion to act in a particular way during the employment relationship if they do not have a contractual right to do so. Accordingly, covering further areas such as:

  • Post termination restrictions
  • Details of any enhanced sick pay scheme can be of real benefit. 

Additionally, we can also assist in providing other policies and procedures that may be required to ensure the smooth running of the workplace. Whether a full staff handbook is or a particular policy is required, we are happy to help and can assist with policies and procedures for the following (amongst others):

  • Discipline
  • Grievance
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Absence management
  • Performance management
  • Maternity, Paternity and Adoption
  • Flexible working
  • IT Systems
  • Use of Social Media
  • Adverse weather; and
  • Anti-Bribery

Expert Employment Law assistance and advice.

Contact our expert Employment Law solicitors in Glasgow today on 01412211919

Contractual disputes are common. Often they centre on pay or salary, entitlement to commission or the payment of bonuses. If you are involved in a dispute over payment or remuneration, Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help.

When considering the wide ranging nature of employment law disputes, it is those which relate to pay and related entitlements which are the most obvious. The most basic expectation which an employee has from their employment is that they receive payment of the monies agreed with their employer.Even although this is a topic which will more often than not be one of the first points of agreement between a prospective employee and employer, disputes can still arise on a regular basis in respect of whether the parties rights have been infringed.

Pay disputes

Pay disputes can be among the most serious in a workplace. They can seriously undermine morale and productivity.  While the employee and the employer may both be of the view that they are clear as to what monies are payable, disagreements can often arise where:

  • The employer seeks to make a deduction from the employee’s salary which is not accepted;
  • An employee discovers what salary a colleague receives for doing a similar job;
  • It is alleged that there is inequality of pay between comparable jobs.

We can assist in providing advice to both employers and employees on their statutory and contractual rights with regards to pay, advising on unlawful deductions of wage claim and assisting with any issues that arise regarding equal pay legislation.

Bonus/ Commission disputes

In addition to basic salary payments, employees may also wish to challenge their entitlement to receive bonus or commission payments. Such schemes can often be complex, requiring careful consideration of the wording used to set out the employee’s particular entitlement. The first point to consider is whether the employee has a real contractual right to receive any payment by way of bonus or commission, or whether the employer has discretion when making such payments. Whatever type of scheme is in place, advice can often be required on:

  • How an employer can exercise any discretion?;
  • What amount of bonus/ commission is due to an employee, if any?
  • Against what criteria is the bonus/ commission to be assessed?
  • When is there an obligation on the employer to actually make payment?

Whether a dispute has already arisen, or whether you feel you need advice on how any bonus or commission scheme is to be designed, in terms of any contract, Miller Samuel Hill Brown can help.

Expert Employment Law assistance and advice.

Contact our Employment Law Solicitors in Glasgow today on 01412211919


   
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