13 Jul

An employee not performing in her role had her probationary period extended.  She was never going to make the grade. However, it was a key role and the client needed a replacement. She was advised she was NOT going to be confirmed in post and asked whether she would stay on until a replacement was found.  Her notice was a week but they agreed to  pay a longer notice and ex-gratia payment which would be subject to a settlement agreement.

The employee during her period of employment had raised a number of issues relating to equal pay and discrimination, which had been addressed by the company. During the extended probationary period a replacement was found and she was released early. The settlement agreement was signed by both parties and reviewed by an independent solicitor.  Per the terms of the settlement agreement, the severance payment was made to the employee. Before leaving the employee lodged a series of grievances related to equal pay and discrimination.  The grievances were investigated and addressed fully and fairly with her appeal not upheld.   

She then refused the severance pay and raised an ET1 saying the issues of equal pay and discrimination only came to light after the settlement agreement was issued.  

The case was accepted by the tribunal even though she’d signed a settlement agreement waiving her rights to lodge a claim. The question – was the settlement agreement legally binding and were the issues raised, additional allegations, pre settlement agreement? 

The Judge struck the case out.  

Evidence presented by the client clearly showed that these issues had been raised by the employee and dealt with pre settlement agreement. 

If an employee in probationary period is not performing and meeting the expectations of the role, it is probably not wise to keep them on until you find a replacement.  You never know what their agenda might be!

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