Settlement Agreements and Confidentiality

First things first, this article is based on a case which happened in the USA and therefore acts as a word of warning rather than a case from our own jurisdiction.

Picture the scene: you have been pursuing your former employer as you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your age. It has been a stressful period and it has taken its toll on your career, your confidence and your family life. Happily, the disagreement results in a sizable settlement offer from your former employer which you accept. All is now well! That is until your teenage daughter adds social media to the equation…

In a recent case in the USA it is has been reported that following the settlement of a claim, the Claimant’s daughter posted about the settlement on her Facebook page. This resulted in the former employer refusing to pay a penny of the settlement previously agreed based on the fact that the Claimant had signed a confidentiality agreement and his daughter had breached the terms of this agreement by discussing the matter on social media.

In the UK, settlement agreements will often include a provision that the parties agree to keep the nature and detail of settlements confidential. It is possible that any settlement payment can be contingent on this term being observed by all parties. In other words, an employer may be entitled to withhold a settlement payment that had already been agreed due to a breach of the confidentiality clause by the employee.

ALWAYS keep the terms and facts of your settlement confidential and ensure that your immediate family do the same! Although these cases are rare, it is not worth jeopardising losing your settlement figure because someone could not keep the detail to themselves!

If you require advice on any aspect of a settlement agreement please feel free to contact us.

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