Hmmm, I thought I posted a reply on here. I guess I didn't hit 'post'
Anyhow, here's how it went down. I had a review hearing on last week. I had asked for a review hearing, because in October I had withdrawn my initial discrimination claim (due to stress). My employers made an application to dismiss under rule 25(4). My solicitor contested the 25(4), but the judge had made the ruling to dismiss before my solicitor's argument was put in front of her. In addition I submitted a second ET case, this time for victimisation. As I was put on redundancy notice, (and was the only one in the redundancy pool) my solicitor and I were poised to submit an unfair dismissal claim.
My solicitor asked my employer's solicitor about the details of the voluntary redundancy. Employer's solicitor had no clue what my solicitor was on about. HR never bothered to ask / consult their solicitor about making me redundant. My solicitor told my employer's solicitor the details of my pending redundancy. My solicitor stated that I am willing to walk away and sign a compromise agreement for £XX,XXX
The next day the employer's solicitor came back and said that my employer could only offer 63% of £XX,XXX. My solicitor indicated that is was a "pretty good" settlement and that we could probably push for a little more, but not much. I said that I would agree to 63% of £XX,XXX NET -- and if that there was any tax liability that they would have to pony up more to get me to exactly 63% of £XX,XXX. So the NET amount was agreed in principle by my employer's solicitor BUT..... My employer wasn't responsible for the payout, their insurance company is paying out. So suddenly my solicitor and my employer's solicitor were suddenly both on the same side negotiating with the tight-wad insurance company.
What a con this is? No wonder companies never learn and keep discriminating, they are not paying out themselves. Their insurance companies are doing all the paying out!
So the morning of the review hearing we heard back from the insurance company who approved the 63% of £XX,XXX, NET. My solicitor lives outside of London so since the Compromise Agreement was already agreed she didn't come down for the review hearing. The CA was emailed to my solicitor. She reviewd it over and told me over the phone that I was OK to sign it.
I arrived at the tribunal. The respondent had brought their solicitor and posh barrister as well as 6 bundles?!?! Bundles for a review hearing? I never heard of that. I initially panicked, thinking what if this goes t*ts up and I end up in court without a solicitor having to defend my case? To my relief It all went smoothly. Whilst my solicitor was on the mobile with me I signed the CA in the presence of the barrister and solicitor. My solicitor emailed over the her certificate and then everything was finalised.
I still had to go in front of the judge to tell him verbally that I was withdrawing the review of my first case and the entirety of my second case. The judge said that he would have ruled to put aside my dismissal in my first case, but since a CA had been reached there were a few points of law that needed to be tidied up. (After he said tat I had wondered for a millisecond if I had settled too soon) The judge was very, very nice and very accommodating. He seemed almost giddy that we reached a CA. As we left the court room he stated that he was pleased to have another hour back in his day!
Over the course of her many phone calls to my employer's solicitor, my solicitor became very friendly with the employment's solicitor. My employer's solicitor let slip that my employer's legal bill was in excess of £60,000. Crikey! I wonder how much it would have been had we'd gone to tribunal?!? I'm guessing that similar to my settlement, the legal fees, too, will be paid by the insurance company. I really, really hope their premiums go up next year!
Although there were doubts about my solicitor, in the end, she closed the deal and that's the most important part for me. I paid a flat rate of £1,500 in legal fees. There is no percentage of fees that I have to pay out so I get to keep every penny of my settlement. Not bad for a £1,500 investment. And to boot my solicitor gets an additional £450 from my employer for the CA.
I'm glad it's over and I'm happy I got my life back.
I guess if there are life lesons to be learned, here's what I took from this experience:
People are fundamentally flawed and so is HR and some HR practices.
Document EVERYTHING regarding your case.
Do not withdraw your case for any reason. I did it for stress, but it was ultimately MORE stressful withdrawing and having to deal with the 25(4) rule.
Once you initiate an ET claim, start looking for another job. Don't wait until the last minute.
It helps to talk to people going through the process as well. I have 2 girlfriends who are also knee deep in their ET cases
Have the facts to back up your case.
Be selfish. At a certain point, you have to concede defeat in that you probably won't ever change a discriminatory department, boss or practice - but you can get compensation for the horrible experience you went through
Have faith that things will go right.
Kindness, dignity at work and respect cost nothing. It astounds me that employers would pay tens of thousands fighting you in court, rather than changing their attitude at work.
I'd like to thank everyone here on this forum for their kindness and support. I hope I never HAVE TO post here again.
Over + Out.