How should employers prepare for an employment tribunal?
All employers should seek to avoid employment tribunals by following HR best practices and staying organised. However, sometimes mistakes are unavoidable and problems employees have cannot be resolved due to certain circumstances. When this leads to an employment tribunal, employers must make preparations in order to get the best result for both parties. This post is designed to serve as a helpful guide for employers who haven’t faced with a claim to an employment tribunal, or who haven’t been faced with the prospect of an employment tribunal before.
How long do you have to prepare?
When preparing for legal proceedings, it’s important to know how long you have so you can use all the time effectively. Employees have three months minus a day from the date of resignation, dismissal, or when the event linked to the event occurred. Although this can be extended to six months minus a day, depending on the nature of the claim. Employers will have more time to prepare for tribunal claims concerning:
- Equal pay.
- Statutory redundancy pay.
- Certain claims made against a trade union.
- Unfair dismissal related to strike action.
- Certain claims from members of the armed forces.
Expert advice on preparing for an employment tribunal
As an employer, being faced with an employment tribunal can be very intimidating as it indicates that the employee wishes to follow a formal legal process to resolve their grievance. This is because ACAS will only advise an employment tribunal after efforts have been made to resolve the issue informally or through a formal notice (early conciliation). As mentioned above, this is the point from which the employer should start preparing for the tribunal in the following ways.
It seems obvious but you need to be aware of the key dates and developments involved in an employment tribunal. This not only lets you get prepared for important deadlines, it also ensures that all orders and directions are complied with. To give a brief overview, the employment tribunal process consists of:
- Claim submission.
- Employer response to the claim.
- Setting timeframes.
- Preliminary hearing.
- Schedule of loss.
- Documents disclosure.
- Witness evidence.
- Settlement discussions.
- Compensation (where relevant).
- Appeals (if made).
An employment tribunal should be approached like any other legal case – with the gathering of key evidence and witnesses. The latter should be those who can explain what happened in relation to the incident, as well as what choices were made around that time. In addition, care must be taken in preparing witness statements. These must contain a detailed account to support the employer’s argument. At this time, you can also brief witnesses on which evidence they need to reference at the hearing.
Employers should plan out the main points of their defence ahead of time. At this time, focus should also be put on being concise and having your team conduct themselves with proper etiquette. A good impression can go a long way in an employment tribunal.
To have the best possible chance of winning an employment tribunal as an employer or an employee, it’s recommended you seek help from a specialist employment law solicitor. They act as an employment law consultant for employers, helping guide you through the process, and offering support and advice for employers when necessary. With the help of the experts at Employment Law Services Ltd, you’ll be properly prepared and have access to Fixed Fee Employment Tribunal Representation.
There’s still a chance to negotiate terms of settlement before the tribunal reaches its final hearing. Of course, you will need to assess whether this is right option for you. If it is, however, it’s important to be ready to re-enter negotiations to save time and money.
As the day of the hearing approaches, make sure everyone knows the relevant information. This includes where the tribunal is located, when they are expected to arrive, what’s going to happen, and what they need to bring with them. It’s also worth reminding witnesses what is expected of them and how they should present themselves. For example, witnesses may need to be reminded not to discuss sensitive information in public areas.
Employment law services to support employers
As an employment law company for employers in the UK, we have an intimate understanding of what it takes to win an employment tribunal. Our team has experience in supporting employers during claims of all kinds, in a vast range of industries. As such, there are very few scenarios where Employment Law Services Ltd can’t provide quality legal assistance. Simply contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation and what we can do to help. We also offer legal expenses insurance to ensure your company is protected against the potential fallout of legal disputes.