There are many reasons why employees might want to make a tribunal claim. This includes:
- Unfair dismissal
- Discrimination in the workplace
- Unreasonable deductions from pay
- Breach of contract
- Bullying and harassment
- Reduced or absent redundancy pay
- Changes to working environments or hours
These reasons form the basis of the claim and will likely stem from a recurring issue the claimant has experienced in the workplace.
At the hearing, the tribunal will read the bundle, listen to the evidence from witnesses and make a decision on the outcome. Both the claimant and the respondent can give evidence and all witnesses are subject to cross-examination. If you are having an employment dispute that might go to tribunal, it’s beneficial to ensure you’re properly covered with legal expenses insurance.
In some cases, such as harassment, an isolated incident can trigger a claim. The key stages of the employment tribunal process are:
- Early Conciliation involving an independent ACAS conciliator who discusses the issues with both parties in an attempt to resolve matters and avoid a tribunal claim being submitted.
- If Early Conciliation doesn’t resolve the dispute, the employee can submit their claim to the employment tribunal. Someone can do this for themselves, for a group of workers, or as a representative of the claimant.
- The respondent (the employer) is informed of the claim and has 28 days to respond.
- Following submission of the response, the tribunal will review the claim and response then decide what happens next.
- Once the claim and response have been accepted by the tribunal, it will decide how best to progress the case to a final hearing. This may include holding preliminary hearings and the issuing of directions and case management orders.
- Parties may be asked to provide more information about their cases to assist the tribunal to clarify the claim and/or defence.
- Both parties will be required to disclose all relevant documents to each other, including documents that support or adversely affect a party’s case.
- The parties will be required to produce a ‘bundle’ containing all the documents that both parties agree are relevant and which should be considered at the hearing. In many cases, it is agreed that a joint bundle will be produced and more often than not it is the respondent that will be charged with producing the joint bundle.