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Gordon Turner Employment Lawyers

2 minutes reading time (388 words)

Settling a dispute - the power of ‘boring’

I’ve recently settled a 4-day pregnancy discrimination case due for hearing later this year. A careful review of the myriad of documents relating to the dispute threw up a key point in the chronology of events, resulting in a straightforward settlement of the dispute.

I’ve recently settled a 4-day pregnancy discrimination case due for hearing later this year. The main allegation was that my client failed to allow the employee to return on her normal four-day week after maternity leave, contrary to Reg. 18. In many ways it was a typical claim: big on allegations and paperwork… thin on detail. The initial Schedule of Loss would reduce any manager to a quivering wreck.

With all cases - exaggerated or reasonable - it’s important to keep calm and where possible to find the ‘killer’ point… The last thing you should do is get drawn into all the turgid detail. The time and cost of doing this are precisely what a difficult employee may be hoping for and one of the main reasons employers settle higher than they should.

Which brings me onto the boring old chronology. Judges love chronologies because they show the flow of events and why something happened (lawyers call this ‘causation’).

But chronologies are great for settlements also. In the case I mention, on quietly typing up my chronology hidden up there in the corner of the ET Claim form was the date it was lodged. On going through reams of emails and entering the very few relevant dates from it, I found that the very same day the form was lodged my client emailed the employee (in the Lockdown-hence discussions about reduced days per week) that she could return on her normal days.

I requested disclosure of the receipt from the ET1 which would have a date and the time of day on it and the Claimant seemed to be very reluctant to provide this. Possibly because it would show she wanted a case rather than her right to return. Within days of making my request the case settled.

So, if you’re thinking of instructing a lawyer, why not do some groundwork yourself? Put all the documents in date order, take out all the horrible back copy emails and type up a chronology- there may be a ‘boring’ detail to bring matters to an end.

Negotiating a Settlement Agreement – April 22
Always look on the bright side…of life!

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