Navigating the Employment Tribunal process can be a complex and daunting task for employers. As you prepare to face this legal challenge, you’re likely to have a host of questions swirling in your mind.
We’re here to provide clarity and guidance, and in this blog we address the ten of the most frequently asked questions regarding Employment Tribunal claims. From understanding the role of the ACAS conciliation process to the possibility of recovering costs, we’re ready to shed light on the key aspects of this legal journey.
Let’s dive in and demystify the Employment Tribunal process together.
1. What is the ACAS conciliation process?
Before an individual can submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal he or she must participate in the ACAS conciliation process. This means that ACAS help to resolve the dispute by reaching an agreement between the parties, without the need to go to an Employment Tribunal.
2. How do I defend a claim against my business?
First, you must ensure that you complete and submit a form outlining your response to the claim (called an ET3). This can be done online or by post. You must briefly outline the facts of the case from your point of view and it is also useful to include the legal grounds of your defence. Then, either you or your lawyer must argue your case before a Judge.
3. Can an Employment Tribunal reject or ‘strike out’ a claim?
Yes, but it is unusual. A claim can be rejected if some of the essential information is not contained in the claim form (also known as an ET1). In certain circumstances, the Employment Tribunal may ‘strike out’, for example, if it has no reasonable prospect of success, is brought or conducted vexatiously, or is not actively pursued.
4. How long do I have to respond to a claim?
You have 28 days to submit your response to the Employment Tribunal once you have been notified of the claim.
5. What happens after the ET3 has been submitted?
Once both parties have submitted the relevant forms, the Employment Tribunal will set out a timetable, outlining further documents that may be required and setting dates for any evidence to be shared between the parties. The Tribunal may also set a date for the final hearing, at which evidence will be given (either in person or remotely).
6. What is the difference between a preliminary hearing and a final hearing?
In some claims, a preliminary hearing may be held to determine specific issues, such as whether an employee has a disability (in disability discrimination claims). A final hearing is usually the final stage of a claim, where the Employment Tribunal hears evidence and determines whether the claim succeeds or not. If the claim succeeds, there may also be a remedy hearing to determine how much compensation should be awarded to the Claimant.
7. Do all claims go to a final hearing?
No. In fact, most claims do not go all the way to a final hearing. Many cases settle before reaching a final hearing, others may be discontinued or struck out for a variety of reasons. However, it is often best to prepare for the claim to go all the way.
8. What sort of evidence is considered in an Employment Tribunal claim?
This may vary from claim to claim, but will typically include witness evidence from people who witnessed key events or made decisions relating to the claim, as well as any relevant documents such as contracts, meeting notes and policy documents. It is common for WhatsApp messages, social media posts, and CCTV footage to be referred to.
9. Should I just settle the claim?
It is always worth considering whether settlement might be a viable option. In many cases, there may be commercial merit in reaching a settlement, where this avoids the risk, time, and cost of the claim going all the way to a final hearing.
10. If the claim is successfully defended, will I be able to recover my costs?
Possibly, though this is unlikely. Costs awards tend to be the exception, rather than the rule, in Employment Tribunal claims and will only be awarded in limited circumstances, such as where the claim was pursued vexatiously or had no reasonable prospect of success.
We hope you find this overview of common questions about Employment Tribunal claims to be informative and helpful. Remember, when it comes to navigating the intricacies of the Employment Tribunal process, having the right legal guidance can make all the difference.
If you find yourself facing an Employment Tribunal claim, or if you have additional questions not covered in this blog, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts. We’re here to provide you with the support and representation you need to protect your interests. Your peace of mind is just a click or a phone call away.
Contact us today on 0161 929 9969 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation and ensure you’re well-prepared for whatever the Tribunal process may bring.