Can you bring a claim after signing a settlement agreement?

The agreement usually states that it is in full and final settlement of all claims. If you issue a claim before the Employment Tribunal after you have signed the agreement your employer will reference the settlement agreement in its defence and the Tribunal is likely to say it does not have jurisdiction to hear your complaint as you signed a settlement agreement. Some agreements have clauses that require you to repay the monies you received under the agreement or prevent you being paid in the first place, if you take this course of action. Some agreements even have a clause requiring you to cover your employer’s legal fees so this course of action is not advised as you will typically be in breach of contract. You should only enter into the agreement if you intend it to be full and final settlement and understand you should not bring further claims.

There are three normal exceptions to this rule whereby you can still bring a claim and not be in breach of the agreement but it depends on the wording of your specific agreement and whether these exceptions have been included. These are for accrued pension right claims, claims to enforce the agreement and claims for personal injury claims you knew nothing about when you signed. Historically, people did not realise asbestos was dangerous so should future knowledge arise you will be protected if you had no knowledge at the time. Again, the wording of the agreement is key and each agreement differs.

If you have these exceptions and find out that you have a claim in the future for personal injury and pension losses then you can still bring a claim in the county court. You should take advice first from a personal injury specialist or a pensions specialist. If your employer fails to pay you the settlement sums in breach of the agreement this would be a breach of contract claim and you could bring a claim to enforce the agreement in the county court. If this should happen you will need to take advice and the starting point would be the solicitor who advised you on the agreement or a solicitor specialising in contractual claims.

More FAQs on Settlement Agreements