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As an employer, being on the receiving end of an employment tribunal claim can be worrying. Employers may be concerned about financial consequences, and also the potential for harm to your reputation. Defending employment tribunal claims requires detailed knowledge of employment law and strong litigation skills, so expert representation is a must, where possible.
Employment tribunal claims can involve extensive and complicated processes. If a former or existing employee/worker has filed a claim against you, it is important that you follow the appropriate legal procedures.
There are many issues that can be brought in the employment tribunal, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, or unlawful deductions from wages. To defend yourself against employment tribunal claims, you may need the advice of a professional employment law solicitor.
Our employment tribunal claims expertise
Responding to a claim
If an employee has made a claim against you, you will receive an ET1 claim form which will be forwarded to you by the employment tribunal. As an employer, you then have 28 days to respond to the ET1 form (from the date of receipt of the claim form).
Once you have responded, the employment tribunal will review your response and make a decision as to the next steps. Roythornes can offer clear legal guidance, helping you to respond appropriately in these crucial early stages.
Preparing a counter schedule
The employment tribunal will ask the employee to establish the remedy that they are seeking e.g., compensation. Employers may have the opportunity to create a counter schedule, outlining what they perceive is the true value of the claim. Our expert employment law solicitors can help you to prepare a counter schedule to best support your defence.
Discussing a settlement
As part of the employment tribunal claims process, you may have the opportunity to discuss settlement with the claimant on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. Our expert employment solicitors at Roythornes can support you throughout the settlement negotiations process, helping you to protect your interests.
Preparing for the hearing
We can help you to prepare for the hearing, including gathering the relevant documents into a bundle that will then be used at the tribunal. We can also help you to prepare documents for judicial mediation, including a draft settlement and a position statement. A judicial mediation allows both the claimant and the employer to meet and attempt to solve the dispute, without the need to then attend a full hearing.
Our employment law solicitors can help you to collect appropriate witness statements and exchange these statements with the other party. We can also assist witnesses to get ready for the hearing by arranging a case conference before the hearing takes place.
For more information about the employment tribunal process, contact Roythornes today.
How employment tribunal claims work
What does the employment tribunal process involve?
Stage 1: Early conciliation
Before the proceedings begin, both parties are given the opportunity of early conciliation. The employer and the employer are assigned an Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) officer who will negotiate between both parties to try to achieve a binding agreement. If an agreement is reached, the claim ends here before any further tribunal processes.
Stage 2: Employee submits claim form
If an agreement cannot be reached, the employer must submit their claim form to the employment tribunal. The employer must respond to the ET1 form within 28 days (from receipt of the ET1).
Stage 3: Case management
After reviewing the case, the employment tribunal will decide on a date for a preliminary hearing and will then determine how the case will be managed.
Preparing for the hearing
Both parties need to prepare for the hearing, including gathering any appropriate evidence, such as documents, to make their case. It is not advised that you attempt to prepare for a hearing without the advice of an employment lawyer.
What are the common types of claims at an employment tribunal?
Many issues may be brought in an employment tribunal claim, for instance:
- A breach of employment contract;
- Discrimination based on disability, religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation;
- Incidents of unjust dismissal;
- Unlicenced pay deductions;
- Issues with working hour regulations; and
- Redundancy payment issues.
What type of evidence do I need to present at an employment tribunal?
At an employment tribunal, you’ll be able to present any evidence which is appropriate to the claim. For example, you might present your employee handbook, terms of employment, information about your grievance and disciplinary procedures and witness statements.
Depending on the nature of the case, it can be difficult to build a defence without the right legal support. Our employment solicitors have worked on a wide range of employment tribunal cases, so we are in the best position to offer specialist legal advice and support.
How much does an employment tribunal case cost the employer?
Each case is different and so the cost to the employer largely depends on the specifics of the case. Our solicitors will start by reviewing the finer details to provide you with a clear picture. We will ensure that you have a clear understanding of any expenses that you are likely to incur, along with information about the risks associated with your defence.
Many factors contribute to how long a case takes, for instance:
- How many claims are involved;
- How complex these claims are;
- The number of witnesses;
- The level of cooperation between both parties; and
- The number of documents and the case history.
If I lose an employment tribunal case, do I have the right to appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of an employment tribunal case, you do have the right to appeal.
Once the tribunal has made its decision, you have a 42-day period to begin the appeal process. Before starting any appeal process, it is important that you take legal advice from an employment law solicitor. Based on the specifics of your case, your solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether an appeal is a wise decision.
Defending an employment tribunal claim
If an employee has made a claim against you, you will need legal advice to support you. At Roythornes Solicitors, we have defended employers in a variety of complex cases.
Some of the most common issues raised in tribunals include concerns with redundancy payments, wages or unfair dismissal and discrimination. Naturally, issues like this can affect your reputation, which is why expert legal guidance is essential.
We have a great success rate in resolving and defending claims. Rest assured, Roythornes Solicitors can provide you with high-quality service and a stress-free experience.
Time limits for an employment tribunal
A claim made to an employment tribunal generally needs to be made within 3 months. For instance, if an employee/worker is pursuing a claim for unfair dismissal, the 3-month window starts on the day that they were dismissed.
Some claims have a longer time frame e.g., employers can bring an ‘equal pay’ claim within 6 months of the end of employment. If an employee has not adhered to the correct time frames, the employer may be able to get the claim ‘struck out’. Claims in the civil courts can generally be issued within a period of six years.