At our recent seminar, we discussed pre-termination negotiations (or protected conversations) as a potentially useful method for employers to exit employees where there are concerns about their conduct or performance issues (absent any discriminatory issues) without necessarily having to go through lengthy legal procedures.

Provisionally by summer 2013 or October 2013, such discussions regarding termination on agreed terms will not be admissible in ordinary, unfair dismissal claims unless there is 'improper behaviour'. However, the fact and content of such offer or discussions may be referred to in any other tribunal proceedings, including automatically unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract.

Acas released their code of practice on pre-termination negotiations on 7 June. The final version of the code provides that the initial termination settlement offer need not be in writing but an employee should be allowed to be accompanied at settlement meetings and must have a minimum of 10 calendar days to consider any offer from the employer. To access the code, please click here.