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Settlement Agreements

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Can a sufficiently widely drafted COT3 agreement prevent a subsequent claim for victimisation against the same Respondent?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Arvunescu v Quick Release Ltd.

The Claimant worked for the Respondent for a month before his dismissal in June 2014. Following his termination, he brought proceedings in the tribunal for race discrimination. In March 2018, the parties entered into a COT3 agreement, settling the claims.

Subsequently, in May 2018, the Claimant brought another claim against the Respondent for victimisation, alleging that it was responsible for his failure to get a job at a wholly owned subsidiary of theirs. He had applied for the job in January 2018 and was rejected in February 2018.

The Respondent argued that this claim had been settled by the COT3. The tribunal and the EAT agreed, holding that the new claim fell within the scope of the COT3 and therefore could not proceed.

The Court of Appeal agreed. Although the current claim does not arise directly or indirectly out of employment, the COT3 was drafted widely and includes claims that arise “indirectly […] in connection with the claimant’s employment”. The fact that the Claimant relied on his initial race discrimination claim as his protected act for his victimisation claim was pertinent.

The Court of Appeal also found the context and purpose of the COT3 relevant. The express intention, as seen in the terms of the COT3, was to settle all claims connected to the Claimant’s employment which existed at the time of the settlement agreement. This included the current claim.