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Employment Law for Businesses

Defending Employment Tribunal Claims

Susie Al-Qassab
Susie Al‑Qassab
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Natalie Wellock
Ellen Clabburn
Ellen Clabburn

An Employment Tribunal is the legal forum where all types of employment disputes are heard. We can help in a number of different circumstances related to employment tribunals.

If you have been served with a claim by the Employment Tribunal, the key thing to do is to act quickly. You have a very strict deadline to respond to the claim (usually 28 days) and if you miss that deadline, you may be left unable to defend the claim at all. It is therefore important to get the help, advice and support you need from the outset.

Our experienced team of employment tribunal solicitors can help to protect your business and ensure fair representation and due process for all involved.

What should I do if I have been served an employment tribunal claim?

You may find your business on the receiving end of a claim from a current, former, or even prospective employee, even if you have been cautious and risk averse when it comes to employment and personnel issues. As soon as you receive the claim it’s important to seek legal help right away.

Once the claim has been formally responded to, there will be a series of formal stages to conclusion, taking anywhere between six and 18 months and potentially even longer.

Prior to any claim being issued, an individual is required to commence a pre-litigation step, known as ACAS Early Conciliation. This is an opportunity to understand what the claim is likely to be and a chance to settle that claim if appropriate.


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What outcomes can I expect at an employment tribunal?

An Employment Tribunal has the power to award the successful party compensation. They also have the power to order that your business re-employs someone who has been found to have been unfairly dismissed.

The Tribunal has other powers, including fining employers, making punitive awards and ordering that costs be paid to a successful party in certain circumstances. Where a claim includes discrimination, there is no maximum to the amount that a business may have to pay a former employee as compensation.

We will be able to provide you with clear advice on not only the likely outcome, but also the likely amount of compensation that you may have to pay. We will usually be able to do this at an early stage so that you can evaluate your risk.

The majority of Employment Tribunal claims settle through the parties reaching an agreement. This usually includes paying compensation to a Claimant, in order to avoid the final hearing. There are many reasons why settlement is often the best option, not least because of the cost savings to you in achieving an early resolution.

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Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors?

Our team of specialist employment lawyers are experts in representing businesses throughout each stage of an Employment Tribunal claim. We have successfully acted for businesses, charities and NGOs of all sizes in litigation. The fact that we also represent individuals means that we have a good insight into the tactical and strategic approach to take when analysing claims and undertaking settlement discussions.

We will provide you with clear and thorough advice on the strengths of the claims to enable you to understand the likely and potential outcomes. Our advice will also inform your decisions around settlement. An Employment Tribunal claim can be lengthy and time consuming for you and your colleagues. It can also be costly. We will ensure that you are able to focus on running your business or performing your role, while still in control of every stage of the claim.

We are independently recognised as leaders in our field who will provide you with specialist advice and representation. We will ensure that any claim is robustly defended in the professional and skilled manner who can expect from our team of experts.


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Featured cases

Successfully persuaded dismissal of employee was not discriminatory or unfair

The claim was brought by an employee who felt aggrieved after being dismissed by a start-up company. We were able to persuasively present the case which demonstrated that the dismissal was neither discriminatory, nor unfair. Had the claims succeeded, the business could have gone into administration and so the result was extremely well received by the business.

Represented organisation in race discrimination claim

We represented a charitable organisation in claims brought by a former employee who suggested that they had been discriminated against because of their race. The claim included complex, legal arguments and was successfully defended.

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Frequently asked questions

How long does the process take?

It varies depending upon the type of claim and complexity but typically, a claim can take anywhere between six months and 18 months to conclude from the date the claim is commenced.

Can we recover our legal costs if the claims fail?

Can we appeal against the decision?

If the decision of an Employment Tribunal goes against you, you may challenge the decision. This may be either through asking the Tribunal to reconsider the decision, or by appealing to a higher authority (the Employment Appeal Tribunal). However, there are limitations on the ability to challenge any decision and strict time limits which apply.

How much does it cost to defend a claim?

The cost to instruct us varies depending upon the length and complexity of the case. Detailed estimates are detailed on our costs page.

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