Springhouse Solicitors

COT3 wording – take care

We report on a case where the wording of a COT3 Settlement Agreement did not do the job the employers expected it to.

Background

In the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision of DWP v. Brindley, the Court dealt with an interesting scenario where the Claimant’s initial tribunal claim was settled on 11 December 2014. It was a claim relating to disability discrimination and a final written warning.

Before this claim was settled a further warning letter was issued, in November 2014.

The COT3 Agreement signed on 11 December 2014 said that it settled all claims in that case, and also “all other Relevant Claims arising from the facts of the Proceedings up to and including the date [of] this Agreement”.

The Claimant raised another claim arising out of the second final written warning, and DWP tried to have this struck out on the basis of the wording in the COT3 Agreement.

They were not successful, and the second claim was allowed to proceed. This was because the “facts of the Proceedings” did not cover the facts relating to the second written warning.

Implications

This is a good example of the need to take particular care with the terms of any settlement, which a Tribunal will naturally wish to construe in favour of Claimants. Legal advice should be taken, and all potential claims covered very clearly in the drafting of any settlement agreement or COT3 agreement.