The business world is a volatile one, and for members of the labour force, this means being a permanent employee one day and jobless the next. Even high-performing team members aren’t safe. As we have seen in the past year, circumstances beyond any individual’s control can cause a company to go under overnight.
If you have recently lost your job, you may have been presented a document after you have been notified of such actions taken against you. In the process of obtaining employment, you signed a piece of document, not knowing what it is. That document that you have just signed might just be the “deed of release,” a legally binding document that contains details about the agreement between the employer and you after termination.
While that document is seen to be a positive and respectful outcome of any termination, there are some cases where employees are forced to sign the document. If that is how you felt about signing the document, there are some principles you can rely on to cancel the deed of release in court successfully.
If you have been coerced to sign the deed, you have the right to set the deed of release aside. This is also known as duress—excessive pressure placed on you to make a decision. This is unlawful and illegal on the employer’s side. Acts of duress can be anything from physical threats directly against you or someone that you know. Another more recent type of duress is economic duress. It includes promising to give you more severance money or telling you that you are not entitled to more money. Regardless of how you were coerced, it is grounds to set the deed of release aside.
If you can prove to the court that you have been threatened as such or that someone you know was threatened to force you to sign the document, then you can use duress to cancel the document.
2. Abused negotiations
There are ways where negotiations can be abused. It can happen differently, depending on the situation. For example, a negotiation was made in a language that you did not understand or are not too confident in. In other words, you did not fully understand the legal complications you will run into in the document, making grounds to use this as a way to set the deed of release aside.
Regardless of what happened, abused negotiations—also known as unconscionable bargaining—can be a principle to rely on if duress cannot be established.
3. Unacceptable pressure
Also known as undue influence, this principle states that any forced pressure on your end to sign the paper can be used to dismiss the deed of release at court. Even if you have entered the agreement willingly, this concept will still apply if you were tricked into thinking the agreements made on the document were fair and just. This is generally because the relationship between you and your employer was imbalanced, leading to the unjust agreement.
If you want to use undue influence as a way to set the deed of release aside in court, this imbalance in a relationship must be proven. This is the court sees the imbalanced relationship as a lead to an unfair and unjust agreement.
If any of the above principles are ones you can establish in court, you will be able to cause your employer to set the document aside. This way, and even if you do not get the job back, you can potentially obtain fair compensation for the termination of the job. That being said, this process can be complicated, so it is always recommended to work with a professional attorney. They have the know-how to successfully carry out such court proceedings and help you gather the necessary documents to support your case to get you the compensation you deserve.
GLG is a law practice offering innovative legal solutions in property, IP, commercial, and private needs. If you are looking for contract lawyers in Brisbane to help you address your deed of release, work with us today!