Despite presiding over an IT meltdown earlier this year at high street bank, TSB, it has been reported that CEO, Paul Pester, walked away with a significant sum after resigning with immediate effect at the start of September. Clearly he was able to negotiate very effectively with his employer in order to secure such a payout. In the circumstances, many people might have thought a performance related dismissal was more appropriate! So, how can you secure the best deal if you find yourself facing a parting of the ways with your employer? We list our top five tips for a negotiated exit. For more detail and some additional tips, read our previous article: top tips for a negotiated exit.
Hold your horses
If your employer has started discussions with you about a possible exit then it is quite likely you will be shocked and upset. But don’t burn any bridges just yet! Try to stay calm and dignified. The key is to consider what is being proposed rationally, focusing on the best outcome for you. Don’t rush in to agreeing anything and don’t be afraid to say you need more time to consider your position. Ideally your employer would agree to you taking paid leave while negotiations continue.
Understand your legal rights but don’t make premature threats about litigation
By understanding your legal rights, you can have some confidence about the strength of your negotiating position, and, if your position is not a strong one, it’s best to know this early on. You can only make a decision about whether the package being offered is a fair one when you know what your potential, legally enforceable claims against your employer could be. However, you should not make empty threats about “seeing your employer in Court” as this could be counter-productive and jeopardise future negotiations.
Keep a record
If your employer has not provided you with a draft settlement agreement or a written breakdown of the proposed termination package then insist on receiving this. If you are negotiating your exit face-to-face then always take a note of meetings and make sure any proposals made orally are confirmed in writing afterwards to avoid misunderstandings and to enable you to take advice on these later if necessary. Nothing is binding on an employer until a settlement agreement is actually signed.
Get professional advice
Investing in professional legal advice early on could save you money further down the line as a lawyer is quite likely to be able to secure a better deal from your employer in the long run. If necessary a lawyer can negotiate with your employer on your behalf which could remove some of the stress of the situation. If your employer knows you are being professionally advised they may be more willing to reconsider the termination package they are offering and conclude matters more quickly.
Finally, remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
A negotiation is a two-way process so, don’t accept the first offer, there is no harm in asking for more – just keep the negotiations business like and professional! Settlement agreements were previously known as compromise agreements and it is worth bearing in mind that some compromise will probably be required and you won’t get everything you want. However, this needs to be balanced against the uncertainty, expense and stress of resorting to litigation.
A negotiated exit can be a good thing for an employee as it brings closure and allows you to move on to a new chapter, perhaps to do things you hadn’t thought about before.
How can we help you?
If you think you might need some help with your own negotiated exit then talk to our employment law specialists today. We’ll help you figure out the best way forward for you.