The Court of Session has held that a settlement agreement can be used to settle future claims which are unknown to the employee at the time of entering into the agreement, provided that the potential claim is identified within the agreement. Bathgate v Technip Singapore PTE Ltd  CSIH 48
Settling employment claims: Unknown future claims CAN be settled by way of a qualifying settlement agreement
In 2022, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that a settlement agreement could not waive future claims which had not arisen between the parties at the time the settlement agreement was entered into.
What does this mean?
Although this decision is not binding on ETs and the EAT in England and Wales, it will be viewed as very persuasive and we can expect tribunals to follow it. It has now given clarity for employers on the position of relying on settlement agreements to waive future claims, which will be welcomed. General waivers of all claims continue to be ineffective, but settlement agreements which are clearly drafted detailing possible future claims which the employer wants to exclude can be enforceable.
UK employers should ensure that they continue to include specific descriptions of the claims which they are seeking employees to waive in their settlement agreements, ideally including references to the specific legislation under which those claims can be brought. This applies to both current claims and any future claims of which the parties may not yet be aware.