16 January 2017
Was an unclear COT3 wording sufficient to settle all disability claims?
No, held the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in DWP v Brindley, dismissing an appeal against a finding that a COT3 did not settle a subsequent claim.
Acas settlements are legally-binding contracts between the parties to settle actual or potential complaints to the Employment Tribunal. They are recorded on Acas form COT3.
The Claimant brought two claims for disability discrimination, the first in 2014 relating to a final written warning for absence. That claim was settled on 11December 2014 via a COT3. The COT3 wording covered all claims in that case and "all other Relevant Claims arising from the facts of the Proceedings up to and including the date (of) this Agreement". Before the COT3 was agreed, in November 2014, the Claimant received a second final written warning for a different period of absence, unsuccessfully appealing in January 2015.
Next June, the Claimant brought a new claim over the second warning. The Respondent sought to have that claim struck out as settled by the COT3. The employment tribunal held correctly that the COT3 did not cover claims arising from the new circumstances in the second claim. The wording 'the facts of the Proceedings' only covered the specific matters that led to the first warning, not any action by the Respondent up to the date of the COT3.
With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin for providing this update.