Employment Tribunals Archives - MLP Law

What Employers Should Know About the Employment Tribunal Process

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 employment@mlplaw.co.uk to schedule a consultation and ensure you’re well-prepared for whatever the Tribunal process may bring.

Common Employment Tribunal Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Employment Tribunal claims can be a legal minefield for employers, and even the most well-intentioned businesses can stumble into costly pitfalls.

One key to successfully navigating these complexities is to recognise the common mistakes and take proactive steps to avoid them. In this blog, we’ll shed light on some of the most common mistakes employers make when defending Employment Tribunal claims and offer valuable guidance on how to steer clear of these potential hazards.

 

  1. Lack of Proper Documentation:

 

One of the most significant mistakes employers can make is failing to maintain comprehensive records of employment-related matters. In the absence of proper documentation, it becomes challenging to prove that your actions were fair and reasonable in the event of a claim.

To avoid this mistake, ensure that all employment records, including contracts, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, meetings and correspondence, are well-maintained and easily accessible.

 

  1. Mishandling workplace procedures, such as in relation to disciplinary, grievance, performance and absence issues:

 

The complexity of Employment Law means it is all too easy for employers to mishandle workplace procedures, particularly in relation to disciplinary and grievance matters. This typically includes not following the correct processes, not providing an opportunity for the employee to appeal, or showing bias in decision-making.

To avoid this mistake, make sure your internal procedures, such as in relation to disciplinary and grievance matters, are clearly outlined, consistently followed, and that all parties involved are treated fairly and impartially. Best of all, take professional advice on how best to manage issues such as disciplinary and grievance proceedings and performance and absence management.

 

  1. Misclassification of Employment Status:

 

Misclassifying employees or workers as self-employed or as contractors can lead to Employment Tribunal claims. It’s crucial to understand the legal distinctions between these categories and correctly classify your workforce. Misclassification can result in claims for employment rights, including unfair dismissal, holiday pay and minimum wage entitlements.

 

  1. Ignoring ACAS Early Conciliation and alternative dispute resolution options:

 

The ACAS Early Conciliation process is designed to resolve disputes before they escalate to an Employment Tribunal claim.

Failing to engage in this process or closing your mind to alternative dispute resolutions options such as negotiation and mediation can be a costly oversight, not to mention a wasted opportunity to reach a resolution before the cost, time and stress of defending the claim have a detrimental impact on your business.

 

  1. Misunderstanding Time Limits:

 

It’s essential to understand the time limits for responding to Employment Tribunal claims. Missing these deadlines can result in default judgments against you. Keeping a close eye on these timelines and seeking legal advice promptly is crucial.

 

Employment Tribunal claims can be daunting, but with careful preparation and guidance, employers can avoid common mistakes that often lead to unfavourable outcomes. It’s vital to prioritise proper documentation, fair procedures, and a proactive approach to dispute resolution. If you ever find yourself facing an Employment Tribunal claim, seeking expert legal advice from experienced employment lawyers can be your best defence against these pitfalls. Don’t let these errors derail your business – take the necessary steps to protect your interests and maintain a healthy working environment.

Contact us today on 0161 929 9969 or employment@mlplaw.co.uk to schedule a consultation and ensure you give your business the best chance of successfully defending an Employment Tribunal claim.