How do I bring a claim against my employer?

Bringing a claim against your employer can be daunting, so we have set out a simple 5 step guide to take you through the process.

  1. Eligibility

Before you consider bringing a claim, you must first establish that you are eligible to submit a claim against your employer. You’ll need to consider the following:

  • depending on the type of claim you want to bring, you may need to be an employee, or worker, rather than self-employed;
  • whether you have the required service to bring a claim. For example, if you want to bring an unfair dismissal claim you must have two years’ service, whereas for many other claims there is no minimum service requirement; and
  • whether you are still within the limitation period to bring the claim. For most claims, this is 3 months from the incident you are complaining about.
  1. Consider internal procedures

Before submitting a claim, you should first consider bringing an internal grievance against your employer in order to resolve your complaint. How to do this should be contained in your staff handbook.

If you decide to continue, and bring a claim anyway, any notes from the meetings can be used as evidence to support your case. Failure to pursue internal procedures may count against you in any subsequent claim and could affect the amount of compensation awarded to you.

  1. Contacting ACAS

It is compulsory that you contact ACAS before submitting any claim, as you will not be able to submit your claim unless you have a valid ACAS conciliation certificate. Your first contact with ACAS must be within the time limit for bringing your claim. Once you have contacted ACAS, this time limit effectively freezes, so you should not worry if you are close to the time limit when you start the process.

ACAS will ask if you want to participate in ‘early conciliation’, which is where an impartial representative from ACAS will try and settle the issue with your employer without the need for a Tribunal claim. Participation in early conciliation is not compulsory, however, it is highly recommended to try and settle a claim out of court if at all possible.

If ACAS do manage to negotiate a settlement with your employer, it is likely that you will be issued with a COT3 or settlement agreement where the employer will make a payment to you in return for you agreeing not to issue any claims against them. If the matter cannot be settled, ACAS will issue you with a conciliation certificate and you can then proceed with your claim. You will have a period of at least one month from the end of the conciliation period to submit your claim.

  1. Submitting a claim

Once the conciliation certificate has been issued by ACAS the ‘frozen’ time limit described above stops, and the clock begins to tick again. You should therefore make sure you are aware of any deadlines.

The next step would be to complete and submit the Employment Tribunal Claim Form, known as an ET1. Use of this form is compulsory, and as mentioned above, this cannot be submitted without an ACAS conciliation certificate.

  1. Considerations – costs and risks

There is no longer a fee to bring an Employment Tribunal claim, so you can now submit a claim for free. However, the process can be stressful and expensive (in regards to legal fees), so careful consideration should be given before pursuing any claim. If you are thinking about submitting a claim we would highly recommend you seek legal advice, so that the merits of your claim and likelihood of success can be assessed.

If you require assistance on any of the above, please get in contact with a member of the team by emailing Alternatively, please call 0161 926 9969.

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