Employment Tribunals

An Employment Tribunal is the legal forum where all types of employment disputes are heard. 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.

If you have been served with a claim by the Employment Tribunal, the key 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 critical to seek advice and support from the outset.

Once the claim has been formally responded to, there will be a series of formal stages to conclusion, taking anywhere between 6-18 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.

How can I get legal advice?

  • Speak to us as soon as possible

Our team will allocate your case to the most appropriate lawyer for your circumstances who will to discuss the options with you, consider your evidence and advise you on the likely outcome of your dispute. They will then talk you through the relevant time scales and next steps and advise you how we can try to achieve a positive resolution quickly so that your time, cost and stress is as minimal as possible.

  • Discuss funding options

An initial discussion with us will include exploring your funding options. You may have the benefit of funding through your legal expenses insurance provider. If you don’t, we’ll be able to provide clear and upfront cost estimates with you to ensure that you remain in control of your costs at every stage. We may also be able to agree fixed fees for the entire process, or for each stage, in order to provide you with clarity and certainty.

  • Resolve your issue quickly

We will keep you updated and informed throughout and at conclusion, ensure that you are satisfied with the service and outcome.

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 you been found to have 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 reason why settlement is often the best option, not least because of the cost savings to you in achieving an early resolution.

Why should our solicitors help you with your employment tribunal claims?

  • Experts in representing businesses

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.

  • Clear advice promised

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.

  • Independently recognised leaders

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.

Case Study: 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.

Case Study: 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.

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 6 months and 18 months to conclude from the date the claim is commenced.

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. The default position is that both parties are responsible for their own legal costs and only in rare circumstances, where one party has acted in a malicious, vexatious or otherwise extremely unreasonable way, are costs awarded against the other party.

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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    Address:Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
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