Employment tribunal claims

If you think you've been treated unfairly by your employer, Tees can guide you through the tribunals process.

Katherine Jameson, Bishop's Stortford
Katherine Jameson, employment law specialist in Chelmsford

Employment tribunal claims - legal advice

If you feel like you've been treated unfairly at work, our employment specialists are here to help. You have options -  you don't need to put up with unfair treatment at work. Our experts will carefully examine your situation, and explain your legal rights. You might be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal to assert your rights. 

What is an employment tribunal?

Employment tribunals are independent bodies that make decisions to resolve disputes between workers and their employers. They deal with a whole range of issues concerned with work, but the most common ones are claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination and claims about pay.  They’re similar to a court and their decisions are legally binding.

Our employment tribunal services

Our employment law experts help you with all stages:

  • gathering evidence – such as witness statements and documentary evidence
  • assess the evidence that your employer is offering
  • discuss with you how you can best respond to the information your employer puts forward. 
  • Manage the timetable set and deadlines set by the tribunal process
  • Support you before and during the tribunal hearing.

I think I’ve been treated unfairly at work – what can I do?

There are very strict time limits about making claims to employment tribunals. You usually have just under three months to make a claim, and will need to go through ACAS Early Conciliation first. So if you think you might need to take your employer to an employment tribunal, there’s no time to lose. You need to get expert advice.

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We're here to help

If you think you might need to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal, it’s important not to waste any time. Give us a call for a confidential discussion and let’s talk about how we can help you to pursue your claim.

Our specialist lawyers are based in:

  • Cambridgeshire: Cambridge
  • Essex: Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Saffron Walden
  • Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

but we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our specialist employment solicitors on 0808 231 1320

For an initial chat, at no obligation, or fill out our enquiry form and a solicitor will get in touch.

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How do I stop being taken to an employment tribunal?

Following these guidelines can help reduce the risk of an employment tribunal, although all situations are different; get specialist legal advice for your own situation.

  • make sure you use the right documentation such as employment contracts, job descriptions and policies and procedures in a staff handbook.
  • Follow the ACAS Code for disciplinary and grievance procedures and principles of best practice, ensuring you act promptly and consistently
  • Be mindful of employment rights, such as rights not to be discriminated against; some forms of discrimination are obvious, but others are less so. Ensure you have an equal opportunities policy
  • provide staff with ways to raise concerns early via grievance and whistleblowing policies and procedures
  • provide written feedback on staff performance 
  • follow your own procedures which should be written down and consistently applied as necessary to all staff
  • take action if you receive a complaint, by following due process promptly, and investigating it properly
  • be fair and reasonable at all times
  • keep a written record, to demonstrate that you have acted properly.

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How do I defend myself at an employment tribunal?
  • Stay calm and get specialist legal advice quickly; it’s probably best not to try to ‘go it alone’ without a lawyer, if the case is complex
  • Check whether you have any legal expense insurance – you will normally be responsible for your own costs regardless of the outcome
  • engage in the ACAS early conciliation process that all employees must follow before submitting a claim.  It aims to help people settle the argument without going to an employment tribunal. Meaningful negotiations can result in matters being settled without the need to go to tribunal (and avoiding the associated time and costs of going to trial)
  • you must acknowledge the claim and respond within the deadline which is usually 28 days
  • On the form you must complete the mandatory element of the response (the ET3 form), communicate all the facts, refer to everything the employee is claiming and be accurate about anything you write down, to resist the claim
  • collect written evidence such as notes form meetings, performance reviews etc.

What is an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal is like a court, specifically for handling employment disputes where an employee is bringing a claim against his or her employer. It’s made up of a judge sitting alone or a panel of three people, one of whom will be a judge, who will be legally qualified in employment law; the other two are lay members – that is, not judges or lawyers by profession, although they will have experience in employment issues.  One will be an employee representative, and the other an employer representative. Some cases can be heard just by the judge.  Cases of discrimination must be heard by three judges. Although it’s not a requirement to have a lawyer represent you, most people choose to have legal representation.

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How much does employment tribunal cost?

There is no fee for taking a case to an employment tribunal.  In 2017 the Supreme Court judged that the law at that time, which stated claimants must pay, was unlawful. However, most people choose to get a lawyer to help them and of course this means there are legal fees to pay.  Your insurance or membership of a trade union may cover some of the costs. In general, both sides will pay for their own legal costs, regardless of whether they win or lose.  This helps employees who often have fewer financial resources than employers, to access the employment tribunal system. That said, it’s possible that the tribunal could award costs against a party if their behaviour is deemed by the judge to be, for instance, vexatious or unreasonable.

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