What is a protected conversation?

In the context of UK employment law, a protected conversation refers to a type of conversation between an employer and an employee, usually where an employer will make a proposal to terminate the employee’s employment in return for payment under a settlement agreement.

The purpose of a protected conversation is to allow employers to have open and frank discussions about ending the employment relationship without the risk of the conversation being used against them in an unfair dismissal claim.

These conversations are known as “protected” because the content of the conversation ordinarily cannot be used as evidence in an employment tribunal or other legal proceedings. However, it’s important to note that there are some exceptions to this protection, such as claims related to discrimination.

Protected conversations were introduced to encourage settlement discussions in a more informal and less adversarial manner, protecting both parties’ interests. The legislation which deals with protected conversations is section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and this section will often be quoted by the employer in correspondence with the employer.

Employers will often offer exit terms under a settlement agreement following a protected conversation.

If you are approached for a protected conversation listen to what your employee has to say Do not agree to anything offered or make any admissions in relation to your conduct or performance.  Employers will often make veiled threats about conduct or performance in any attempt to show settlement terms as better option for the employee.

It’s worth mentioning that while the content of a protected conversation may be inadmissible as evidence in an employment tribunal, employers have to be very not to threat employees during such meetings as this can result in the conversation no longer being protected.

If you need advice before or after a protected conversation or in relation to the terms of a settlement agreement offered to you please call David now on 0203 603 2177 or Click To Make Your Online Enquiry.

This article/blog is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.