If you’re a current or recently dismissed employee in a dispute with your employer, you may be considering whether to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal.
However, you should only consider an Employment Tribunal once all other means of resolution like early conciliation have been exhausted. This includes grievances or disciplinary issues.
We’d always recommend that you seek guidance from a solicitor before proceeding with Early Conciliation or an Employment Tribunal. This is primarily because an Employment Tribunal is legally binding, which means its decision is enforceable by law.
Farleys has extensive experience in Employment Tribunals – we are frequently approached to handle claims for issues around unfair dismissal, discrimination, unfair deductions from pay, breach of contract, failure to consult employee prior to redundancy, and issues regarding equal pay.
We’re able to advise our clients at every stage of the legal process, and can provide expert representation when your case is brought before the Employment Tribunal.
What is an Employment Tribunal?
An Employment Tribunal is an independent judicial body with the power to pass judgement on disputes over employment rights. Whilst not as formal as a court, the decision of an Employment Tribunal is legally binding.
An Employment Tribunal claim should only be pursued as a last resort, once all other resolution methods have proven unsuccessful.
What claims do Employment Tribunals cover?
Employment Tribunals generally make judgements on claims relating to:
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal
- Failure to consult an employee prior to making him or her redundant
- Breach of contract
- Issues regarding equal pay
- Discrimination relating to race, age, sex, sexual orientation, religious belief, or physical or mental disability
- Failure to follow correct procedure during the disciplinary or grievance process
Are there fair reasons for dismissal?
Yes, there are generally five accepted fair reasons for dismissal.
During an Employment Tribunal, employers must only prove or submit one of the following for the dismissal to be considered fair:
- Due to an employee’s conduct or misconduct
- Due to an employee’s capability, capacity, performance, or qualifications
- Due to a redundancy within the business
- Due to Statutory Duty or restriction probating the employment being continued
- Due to Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR) which can justify the dismissal
This is why we’ll always advise you to keep all records of communications between yourself and your employer, including any phone conversations, emails, and letters you may have exchanged.
How long will an Employment Tribunal take?
Employment Tribunals can be difficult to put a firm timescale on. However, it’s generally accepted that the time to complete an Employment Tribunal claim can be up to twelve months.
Keep in mind, this may vary depending on your specific case. Once we’ve gathered all the necessary information, we’ll provide you with an accurate timescale as soon as we can.
Is there a time limit on when I can submit an Employment Tribunal claim?
Generally speaking, you must make an application to begin an Employment Tribunal claim within three months of the date that your employment ended, or within three months of the date upon which the incident in question occurred.
Employment Tribunal claims may occasionally be accepted outside this time frame, but only in exceptional circumstances.
Our employment law specialists at Farleys Solicitors will be happy to listen to the details of your potential claim, and advise you on the likelihood of your claim being accepted.
Who’s involved in an Employment Tribunal?
Any Employment Tribunal generally involves the following parties:
- Judge – who will hear the case and make a decision on facts
- Respondent – the employer or a representative of the employer
- Claimant – this is generally the party making the claim
- Witness/s – anyone called upon to give evidence
- Lawyer or solicitor – may present the case for either the respondent or claimant
Depending on your situation, there may be additional non-judicial tribunal members asked to sit in and evaluate your case.
Do I need a solicitor at my Employment Tribunal?
Since it’s not uncommon for Employment Tribunal claims to last for up to twelve months, and due to the complexity of law involved, we strongly recommend you begin any Employment Tribunal claim by employing a solicitor during the Early Conciliation process.
This will ensure your interests are consistent and well represented throughout the entire process, and often increases your chances of making a successful claim if matters proceed to an Employment Tribunal.
Guide to Employment Tribunals
Our employment team at Farleys have produced a handy guide which you may find useful if you’re thinking about making an Employment Tribunal claim. It walks you through the key steps involved, and breaks down some of the legal terminology.
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