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Case Study: Increasing our client’s Settlement Agreement Compensation where the alternative was being put on an Employee Performance Improvement Plan

Employment Law

How Fiona Martin, a leading Settlement Agreement solicitor based in our Brighton solicitors’ office, succeeded in increasing our client’s Settlement Agreement compensation offer due to an unfair performance review.

The situation

Prisha was employed as a Senior Auditor and had been promoted less than one year ago.

Her recently appointed line manager, Danny, took a very “hands off“ approach with her. During the pandemic there was little contact with him, just a few criticisms which she immediately addressed.

She was shocked to be told by an HR Manager that they wanted to put her on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) due to her poor performance. She was offered the alternative of leaving immediately with a Settlement Agreement. The compensation offered was just over one month’s salary in addition to her contractual notice and accrued holiday.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Fiona Martin asked Prisha to describe Danny. Prisha told her he was a younger, white man who talked a lot about football and beer. Other members of her team who were also white males had known he was going on paternity leave and was buying a house. This was in contrast to Prisha who had never had any conversations with Danny about personal matters, let alone the regular 1-1 supervision sessions her male colleagues had during the pandemic when they were all working at home.

Fiona asked the employer’s solicitor to provide details of her poor performance so Prisha could defend herself. It turned out many of the allegations were either unfounded, historic and resolved or due to management failures. Fiona advised that her client would be raising a formal grievance about sex discrimination and race discrimination.

Fiona also lodged a formal Subject Access Request on behalf of Prisha to find out more about the company’s performance management process.

Fiona put forward a counteroffer, proposing that Prisha would be likely to be on a performance review for six months, with no guarantee that the company could then dismiss her for poor performance. Any dismissal would have to be on notice, as none of their allegations about Prisha concerned gross negligence.

The result

After negotiation, the company agreed a settlement to Prisha of five months losses, notice paid in lieu, a good reference, and all £1500 plus vat of her legal fees.

Prisha was pleased she did not have to go through the formal grievance process at the same time as returning to work to be placed on an unfair PIP.

Negotiations took only one week, and Prisha’s compensation equated to had eight months loss of earnings so she could look for a new role at a similar level.

For expert advice on unfair performance reviews and employee performance improvement plans contact our Employment Law Team on 01273 609911, or email

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