Recent guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) means employers should urgently consider some important changes to their standard settlement agreements and termination processes, particularly where there are discrimination and harassment allegations.
Some key do’s and don’ts include:
- Don’t use clauses which prevent a worker from speaking up about discrimination or harassment as standard – consider on a case by case basis whether confidentiality clauses are needed, or if they can be reduced to the minimum necessary
- Do carve out from confidentiality clauses permission for the worker to have discussions with certain individuals or organisations such as police, medical professionals, immediate family members (provided they are also asked to keep the matter confidential) and potential employers where necessary to discuss how employment ended
- Don’t treat the settlement agreement as the end of the matter: continue to investigate discrimination allegations, take any reasonable further steps to address the discrimination and take reasonable steps to prevent it happening in the future