Employment tribunals - what are the rules?

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If you have received an employment tribunal claim from a current or former employee, there's a process to follow.

1. I’ve received a claim (ET1 Form) from an ex-employee. What do I need to do next?

You will need to submit your response on an ET3 Response Form. There is a 28 day time limit to do this but the date you need to respond by will be stated in the letter from the Employment Tribunal. We can assist you with preparing your response or requesting an extension of time if necessary.

2. The claim is completely without merit, do I still need to complete the ET3 Response Form or can I just ask the Employment Tribunal to dismiss the case?

You will still need to complete the ET3 Form but in addition to this you will need to make a separate application to ask the Employment Tribunal to arrange a short hearing (called a Pre-Hearing Review) to consider if the claim has reasonable prospects of success. If the Employment Tribunal decides that it does not, they can strike it out or if they decide it has little reasonable prospects of success, they can order the Claimant to pay a deposit to continue with their claim. However, you will first need to attend the hearing. We can do this on your behalf.

3. The Claimant has put very little detail in their claim and I do not understand what their claim is about. What can I do?

You can ask the Claimant to provide further information. You do this by writing to them and asking them questions, which should be as specific as possible. Again we can assist to prepare this.

4. Who are ACAS?

ACAS are the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. They are an independent organisation who act as a neutral go-between in Employment Tribunal cases to settle cases. The service is confidential and any terms of settlement discussed between the parties will not be disclosed to the Employment Tribunal. ACAS can get involved even before a claim is issued if it is a dispute likely to result in a claim such as an unfair dismissal claim or discrimination claim.

5. Can we get our costs paid if we win?

In the Employment Tribunal each party bears its own costs which means that even if you win your case, you will still be responsible for paying your own legal fees. However, it possible to ask the Employment Tribunal to make a costs award against the other party (essentially asking them to pay your legal costs) if you believe they have conducted themselves unreasonably. Although these are only awarded in exceptional circumstances.

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