A deed is often requested by an employer at the time of termination. In effect, this deed of release assures the employer that the employee will not take any further action. It is a way of the employer protecting itself from an unfair dismissal claim.
However, the mere fact that your employer wants you to sign a deed after terminating you suggests that there is something wrong and you should contact an unfair dismissal employment lawyer.
Signing After Termination
If an employer has followed the current regulations regarding terminations and the procedures that need to be followed then it seems unlikely that a deed of release would be considered necessary. Of course, if the employer has not treated the employee fairly throughout their employment or their dismissal, the employer will want a deed of release as it serves to protect them from a potentially expensive and damaging claim.
The simple fact is that requesting a deed after you have terminated an employee or even while terminating them, will make the employee question why you feel a deed is necessary.
In short, the request suggests that something inappropriate has been done and the employee needs to get legal assistance.
In regards to the employee signing the document, if you have terminated them they are under no obligation to sign the document. In fact, this is true even if they are still employed by you as you cannot force an employee to sign anything.
Naturally, there may be consequences for an employee that refuses to sign something. But, this generally refers to things like signing to say they have received training when they have.
It is simply not possible to ask all employees to sign a deed of release as they all have rights on termination.
If you get all your employees to sign a deed of release you are depriving them of the right to a fair process if they do anything wrong, because they have already signed the release;
In effect, you will be pressurizing them into agreeing to the deed of release or losing their jobs. The same is true if you get an employee to sign a deed of release after termination. They will state it was under duress.
The court will then work in favor of the employee. Unless you can prove they were not under duress, it will be assumed they were and they will be entitled to damages from you for unfair dismissal and possibly discrimination while employed.
Keep It Simple
Any employee that is asked to sign a deed of release needs to take legal advice before signing. The best route for an employer to take is to ensure every step of the process is above board and fair. This means there is no need for a deed of release and the employee will have been fairly dismissed.
It doesn’t just keep the process simple, it also helps to protect the reputation of your company and allows the employee to move on with their life faster.