The Employment Tribunal is a specialised ‘court’ you can apply to for compensation if you think your employer has treated you unfairly.
At Gepp Solicitors, our employment law specialists can help you hold your employer accountable for a wide range of issues, including discrimination, unfair, wrongful or constructive dismissal, and unpaid wages.
We understand that taking legal action against your employer is not something you do on a whim and you are likely to feel anxious and stressed about the situation. You may also be carrying feelings of anger, resentment, and sadness about the way you have been treated during the course of your employment.
Therefore, we approach every case with sensitivity and compassion. We will ensure you fully understand the options available to you and the best way to proceed to maximise your prospects of success. We know that engaging with your employer will be difficult, but we are committed to helping you overcome the challenge.
Our employment tribunal claims solicitors’ expertise
Applying to the Employment Tribunal should always be the last resort when handling a dispute with your employer. We can provide advice and support at every stage of the process, including:
- Advice on navigating your employer’s grievance procedure and helping you negotiate an out-of-court settlement wherever possible
- Advising you on whether making a Tribunal claim is in your best interests
- Your prospects for success in making a Tribunal claim
- Supporting you through the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Early Conciliation process (a process by which Acas will speak to both parties to the dispute, in an attempt that it can be resolved without having to go to Tribunal)
- Handling your Employment Tribunal application and providing robust representation during the proceedings
- Providing advice on Employment Tribunal appeals
Before anyone can make an Employment Tribunal claim, they must first inform Acas, a Government funded body that provides information and dispute resolution services to employees and employers.
Once you inform Acas, you will be invited to use their Early Conciliation process to try and resolve the issue without taking the matter to the Tribunal. We can provide detailed advice and professional support throughout the Acas Early Conciliation, including whether any offers of settlement are in your best interests.
Ideally, it is beneficial to try and settle the matter before it reaches the Employment Tribunal. However, our priority will always be to achieve a positive outcome for you.
Employment Tribunal FAQs
Can I take my employer to a Tribunal?
You can take your employer to a Tribunal if you have an issue at work that cannot be resolved. However, before taking your claim straight to the Employment Tribunal, you should explore whether you have any other options, such as using your employer’s formal complaints or grievance procedure or entering into a Settlement Agreement.
Tribunal proceedings can be lengthy and difficult for employees and many employers are open to out-of-court negotiation to avoid the publicity and disruption to their business. Therefore, if it is possible to achieve a decent settlement without using a Tribunal, we will usually recommend you consider it.
How long do you have to bring an Employment Tribunal claim?
The time limit for making an Employment Tribunal claim is 3 months less 1 day of the issue occurring or your employment ending (unless your claim is about redundancy or equal pay where the time limit is 6 months).
However, if you decide to use Acas Early Conciliation, the clock stops running for up to 1 month plus a further 2 weeks if required. This is to ensure you have a proper opportunity to settle the matter without going to the Tribunal.
These time limits can become complex depending on the individual circumstances of your case. Therefore, we recommend you contact us as soon as possible and we will ensure you are able to bring your claim within the correct time periods.
How do you make an Employment Tribunal claim?
When you can claim
You can claim if you think your employer has treated you unlawfully. We can help you make a claim for all types of employment law issue, including:
- Constructive dismissal
- Unfair dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
- Pay disputes
- Redundancy disputes
Before you make a claim
Before you can make an Employment Tribunal claim, you need to inform Acas of your intentions. Acas will ask you if you want to try Early Conciliation. This is when you and your employer will both have the opportunity to speak to Acas to try and resolve the dispute.
If you cannot come to an agreement using Early Conciliation, Acas will close the process and issue you a certificate and a reference number to prove you have tried to settle.
To start an Employment Tribunal claim, you must fill in a claim form. We can handle this step on your behalf with your instructions to ensure the information included accurately reflects your experience.
After you make a claim
After you submit your claim form, the Tribunal will decide whether to accept or reject it. For example, they might reject your claim if you do not provide your Acas reference number.
If your claim is accepted, your employer will have 28 days to respond to your claim. If they do not respond, the Tribunal may make a decision in your favour. If they do defend the claim, the Tribunal will set a hearing date.
After your employer submits their response to your claim, the Tribunal judge will likely consider the merits of the information provided and may issue directions to manage the case (via a case management hearing). These directions will usually require you and your employer to disclose and exchange documents and witness statements before the final hearing.
At the final hearing, the judge will usually make a decision on whether your claim succeeds (either in whole or in part) or whether it should be unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, the Tribunal can make financial awards such as:
- Compensation (for example, for non-payment of wages)
- Statutory redundancy pay (in redundancy cases only)
- A “basic award” (in unfair dismissal cases only)
The Tribunal will also make a decision about costs. For example, if you are successful, your employer may be required to pay your legal fees.
How much compensation will I get for unfair dismissal?
Usually, you can only challenge an employer for unfair dismissal if you have worked for them for at least 2 years. However, if successful, the Employment Tribunal can make a “basic award” and a “compensatory award”.
The basic award is a fixed sum of money which will be calculated according to a statutory formula. To calculate your basic award:
- Take the date you were dismissed – if this is unclear, choose the last day you worked
- Work out the number of complete years you worked for your employer (up to 20 years) – for example, if you work somewhere for 2 years and 5 months, you have worked 2 complete years.
- Calculate the correct amount using complete years of service, your age, and weekly pay:
- For each year of service under 22 years old, you are entitled to half a week’s pay per year
- For each year of service between 22 and 41 years old inclusive, multiply your weekly pay by 1
- For each year of service over 41 years old, multiply your weekly pay by 1.5
For example, if you are 30 years old, your weekly pay is £350 and you have worked for your employer for 5 years, your basic award will be: 5(350x1) = £1,750.
The maximum weekly pay you can take into account is currently £525 (as of April 2019). So, the maximum basic award anyone can get is: 20 years at £525 x 1.5 = £15,750.
If you have worked regular hours for at least 2 years, you can use the Government’s Statutory Redundancy Calculator to work out your basic award for unfair dismissal.
The Tribunal can also award you compensation for money lost because you have been unfairly dismissed. The amount of your compensatory award will be worked out according to factors such as:
- If you are still unemployed, how much money you have lost whilst trying to find another job. You should present evidence to the Tribunal of your efforts to limit your losses
- Loss of statutory rights – you can claim money for the fact that it will take you 2 years in a new job to acquire the right to claim for unfair dismissal
- Whether there are any reasons why your compensatory award should be reduced – for example, if you did not attend disciplinary hearings and were partly responsible for your dismissal
- Whether there are any reasons why your compensatory award should be increased – for example, if your employer did not follow proper processes before dismissing you
We have 3 members of the team who may work on your matter.
Alexandra Dean, Partner
Nilam Dave, Solicitor
Jemma Bennett, Paralegal
Whoever works on your matter they will ultimately be supervised by Alexandra Dean, Partner.