Our team are specialists in dealing with Employment Tribunal Claims. Dealing with a Tribunal claim can be a long and complicated process and often requires guidance. It is difficult to successfully navigate a process that you are now familiar with.
We draw our experience from handling many cases and appearing at court/tribunal on your behalf.
Many lawyers prepare cases for trial, yet they have attended court/tribunal on very few (if any) occasions. We are not making the mistake of preparing for a process we do not fully understand, and this is reflected in our advice and representation.
For Employment Tribunal advice please call us on 0207 118 9219 or complete a Free Online Enquiry and we will be in touch.
What Is An Employment Tribunal?
It is a type of court that deals with employment tribunal claims.
The employment tribunal system is a judicial body that resolves disputes between employees and employers. It is an independent body that is separate from the court system.
Employment tribunals are (generally) presided over by a panel of three individuals, a legally qualified chairperson (the Judge), and two non-legal members who have experience in the industry. The role of the employment tribunal is to hear evidence from both parties and make a decision based on the evidence presented. However, in certain cases, the Tribunal claim will be dealt with by a Judge “sitting alone,” meaning the two non-legal members will not be used.
Employment tribunals have jurisdiction over a wide range of employment law disputes, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, breach of contract and whistleblowing. The tribunal can order compensation, reinstatement, and re-engagement in some situations.
It is worth noting that a Claimant must file a claim with the employment tribunal, and the Respondent must respond to the claim. The tribunal will then review the evidence presented by both parties and make a decision. If the decision is in favor of the claimant, the respondent may be required to pay compensation or take other actions to resolve the dispute.
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Claim?
Unlike in the “civil courts,” you do not have to pay a fee to pursue and employment tribunal claim.
You are able to make your claim and be heard without having to pay any fees to the employment tribunal.
Types of Employment Tribunal Claims
There are several types of employment tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, discrimination, breach of contract, and unpaid wages. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of claims.
Unfair dismissal is one of the most common types of claims brought to an employment tribunal. An employee may bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they believe that they were dismissed without a fair reason or without following the proper procedure. To claim unfair dismissal, you must have been continuously employed for at least 2-years.
If you were dismissed with less than 2-years service, then we have an article covering that point HERE.
Unfair dismissal claims must be brought within three months of the dismissal date.
An employee can be dismissed for various reasons, such as redundancy, poor performance, or misconduct. However, the employer must follow the correct procedures and provide the employee with a valid reason for the dismissal (if they have more than 2-years service.
Constructive dismissal is when an employee resigns because their employer breached an important term of the employment contract.
This is often confused with “unfair dismissal,” which is when the employer terminates the employment contract. There are “implied” terms in employment contracts, which means they continue to apply during the employment relationship, even if they are not written into the contract.
You can find more information on constructive dismissal HERE.
Discrimination can occur on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy, and maternity, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
There are different types of discrimination, such as direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment.
There are also claims for failure to make reasonable adjustments and discrimination arising from disability (both only apply to those deemed disabled in accordance with the Equality Act 2010).
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation.
This is the term used when making a “protected disclosure.” If you disclose certain information in the workplace (such as reporting a health and safety issue or something you believe to be unlawful) then you may qualify for certain legal protection, such as the right not to be dismissed or subjected to a detriment.
The general purpose of the law here is to enable people to raise concerns (in specific areas) without backlash from their employer/colleagues.
Breach of Contract
A breach of contract claim can be brought by an employee, but only against their employer and when the employment relationship has ended. The Tribunal is also only able to make awards of up to £25,000 for breach of contract claims.
Claims can only be brought for sums that were outstanding or arise on the termination of employment, such as unpaid wages or holiday pay.
An Employment Tribunal can deal with claims of unpaid wages. This can include unpaid bonuses, commission, holiday pay, or overtime pay.
Preparing For A Claim
If you are considering making an employment tribunal claim (or have made one) then you can see some key considerations set out HERE.
If you are considering bringing an employment tribunal claim, it is important to prepare thoroughly. This involves gathering evidence and ensuring that you have a strong case. The following are some key steps to follow when preparing for an employment tribunal claim.
Seek Legal Advice
Although it is not necessary to have a lawyer to represent you at an employment tribunal, it is advisable to seek legal advice. A lawyer can provide you with guidance on the strength of your case, the evidence required, and the process involved. A claim at the employment tribunal can take a long time and is likely to require a lot of work to see it through. It is much better to understand the strength of your case at the outset, otherwise, you run the risk of pursuing a claim (perhaps for years) that was never likely to succeed.
Before making a claim, there are also procedural rules and process to navigate, such as short time limits and Early Acas Conciliation, an employment lawyer will be familiar with this.
Check For Legal Expenses Insurance
You may have insurance that will pay for a lawyer to present your employment tribunal claim. Legal cover is mostly found under your home insurance.
Often, and out of court settlement will be a more desirable option, so this should be considered first (if a settlement is not achieved, then you will still have the option of bringing a Tribunal claim).
Step-by-Step Process of Making an Employment Tribunal Claim
Below is a general overview of the main steps claims at the Employment Tribunal:
Step 1: Early Acas Conciliation
Before making a claim to the employment tribunal, you must first go through the early conciliation process with Acas (Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service), who will attempt to resolve the dispute through conciliation. If a settlement is not reached, you will be issued with a certificate allowing you to proceed with an employment tribunal claim.
Step 2: Completing the Claim Form
Once you have obtained a certificate from Acas, you can proceed to complete the employment tribunal claim form. This form sets out the details of your claim, including the type of claim, the date of the event, and the remedy sought. It is usual for the ET1 to be accompanied by a document that sets out the basis of the claim (although there is a box for this on the ET1). This document is usually referred to as the “particulars of claim” or “grounds of complaint.” This is a very important document.
Step 3: Submitting the Claim Form
The completed claim form must be submitted to the employment tribunal. The claim form is referred to as the ET1. This can be done by post, online, or in person. The most common way to submit a claim is online. There will be a deadline to submit the claim, which will vary depending on the nature of the claims and the dates the parties were going through early acas conciliation. The calculation of time limits can be complex, which is why we urge you to take proper advice.
We have more information on time limits and a calculator to assist in calculating the relevant dates HERE.
Step 4: The Respondent’s Response
Once the claim form has been submitted, the respondent (the person or company the claim was made against) will have 28 days to respond. The response is referred to as the ET3. It is also common for respondents to submit (attached to the ET3) a document called the “grounds of response” which sets out its version of events and response to the claims made.
Step 5: Case Management – Directions
After the 28 deadline to submit the response has expired the Tribunal will usually write to the parties setting out what happens next. This depends on the contents of the ET1 and ET3 and what type of claims have been made.
If it is a straightforward claim, the Tribunal will send out a hearing date with a timetable of directions, which will set out what needs to be done and by when.
If it is a more complicated case (i.e involving discrimination/whistleblowing) then the Tribunal will list a preliminary hearing to discuss case management.
Step 6 – Preliminary Hearing
A common step in an Employment Tribunal Claim is a preliminary hearing, depending on the nature of the claims. At a preliminary hearing (case management) the parties will attend with a judge sitting alone. The purpose is to clarify the exact nature of the claims and to have a discussion to ensure the case makes progress toward the final hearing.
Step 7: Preparation for the Hearing
Before the hearing, both parties will need to prepare their evidence and witness statements. The employment tribunal will set out the deadlines for the submission of evidence.
Step 8: The Final Hearing
The Trial, usually referred to as the “Final Hearing” is what the parties have been preparing for by completing the directions. The final hearing is when the evidence will be heard so the Tribunal can give an outcome to the claims made.
Step 9: The Remedy Hearing
If the Claimant wins, the Tribunal will need to determine how much (if any) compensation is to be awarded. This is referred to as the Remedy Hearing.
If there is enough time, this will form a part of the final hearing, but a remedy hearing can take place after the final hearing at a later date.
If the Claimant does not succeed and there is no counter-claim from the Respondent, then there will be no remedy hearing.