No one wants to face an employment tribunal, but unfortunately, they sometimes happen. Here at Citation, we provide employment tribunal services all sizes of UK businesses. We can assist you with everything from drafting responses to claims to preparing a counter schedule of loss, to make the process as smooth as possible for you.
Sitting in a courtroom facing an employment tribunal is the last place any business owner wants to be. But with the right policies and procedures in place, employee disputes that escalate to tribunal stage can be avoided. That’s where our employment tribunal services come in.
First, we’ll help you to avoid costly disputes by ensuring your business is fully compliant with UK Employment Law. But our HR & Employment Law specialists will also talk you through employment tribunal rules and provide the first-class support you need should you find yourself in this situation.
Employment tribunals are legal hearings for employment disputes. Usually, claims are in relation to:
When someone is looking to submit a claim to an employment tribunal, they must contact Acas first. This is known as Acas early conciliation and it can help to provide an opportunity for parties to talk through issues, with an Acas conciliator there to support with the discussions. Our HR & Employment Law team can assist with this process, working by your side to try and secure a successful resolution out of court – saving you valuable money and giving you peace of mind that you’re following best-practice advice.
There are short and very strict time limits for when an employee can make a tribunal claim. Usually, this is within three months of being dismissed, but applying for the early conciliation certificate can affect this.
When it comes to pay-outs of successful claims against employers, it all depends on the nature of the case.
The Ministry of Justice released their 2019/20 breakdown of awards made by tribunals for unfair dismissals and discrimination claims. The results are pretty eyewatering for any employer. The maximum and average awards for that period were:
Our employment tribunal services can help you avoid these costly disputes and protect your business’ reputation.
The financial impact of a tribunal doesn’t end with awards won by claimants. If an employment tribunal hearing finds an employer to have breached an employee’s rights where there are ‘one or more aggravating features’, they can enforce more financial penalties on the employer.
If you’re charged with a penalty, the minimum cost will be £100, whereas the maximum is £20,000.
The sum will be 50% of the compensation awarded to the employee. You’ll also have the option of a 50% discount if you pay the penalty within 21 days of the tribunal’s decision.
Employment tribunal decisions are typically unanimous (all jurors in agreement), but they can also be decided by a majority vote.
Once the hearing has finished, the tribunal will either announce the verdict or reserve the right to issue it at a later date in writing. All written judgments are published on the government Employment Tribunals website.
If you disagree with a tribunal’s decision, you may be able to lodge an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) – an independent tribunal for cases in England, Wales, and Scotland.
Grounds for appeal include:
Before any claim is lodged at the employment tribunal, there’s an obligation for a prospective Claimant to contact ACAS with certain information. This is known as early conciliation. If an individual then wishes to lodge a claim at the employment tribunal, a form ET1 must be completed and submitted at the employment tribunal within the time limit specified for the claim that the individual may be bringing. Failure to present a claim within the relevant time limit means the tribunal cannot hear the claim unless there are grounds for an extension to the time limit to be granted.
Once the claim has been accepted at the employment tribunal, this will be sent to the Respondent (usually the employer) with a response pack. The response must be on the form ET3, and this will set out the Respondent’s position. There are time limits for when a response will need to be submitted by, which is usually within 28 days of the date the claim form was sent by the tribunal to the respondent. Case management orders will then be determined, resulting in the final hearing. Depending on the claim, it can take a great deal of time for the claim to be heard at the employment tribunal, whereas other more “straightforward” cases, can be dealt with relatively quickly.
For more information, check out our free guide to employment tribunals here.
An employer cannot avoid an employment tribunal claim being brought against them. However, if as a business you follow your policies and procedures and ensure that any disciplinary and grievances are dealt with fairly and consistently, this will certainly help in making an employee think carefully before submitting an employment tribunal claim. A claim can be struck out of an employment tribunal if it’s scandalous, vexatious or has no reasonable prospects of success.
The best way to avoid employment tribunals is by working with experts like us, who can talk you through any tricky situations and support with the disciplinary or dismissal process if needs be – just to make sure you’re doing everything by the book. In fact, a Citation client is five times less likely to face a tribunal claim from its employees, versus the UK average – and our advice guarantee means we provide financial and legal support if you do have to go to tribunal, too.
The preparation time to defend an employment tribunal claim can be considerable, whether this is time out of the business to do the preparations yourself, or time spent with a solicitor at the final hearing, which can last many days. Costs are not generally recoverable in an employment tribunal, which can be costly for a business. If the business loses at the employment tribunal, then the award that is granted will depend on the claim which the Claimant has brought. By way of example, the compensation for a successful discrimination claim is currently uncapped – and in 2020/21, disability discrimination brought a maximum award of £266,000.
Not only does our support keep you out of an employment tribunal – our advice guarantee means we’ll provide you with financial and legal support if you do go to a tribunal.
There is no requirement to have a lawyer to represent you at the employment tribunal, however, it’s important to weigh up the time spent out of the business representing yourself in these proceedings, compared with the time that may be saved by enlisting the help of a solicitor or barrister – like our experts. Get in touch to find out how our employment tribunal services can help your business.
We know the thought of standing up in front of a tribunal can be incredibly daunting, and that’s where our team of highly-experienced tribunal advocates come in.
Our employment tribunal services include:
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Working with our Employment Law & HR consultants gets you ready for anything. In fact, our clients are thirteen times less likely to be taken to tribunal than the national average.
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