The team of employment solicitors here at Harding Evans have an exemplary track record of fighting tough cases and successfully managing risk to business’ reputations. Providing employment law services to both individuals and corporations, we regularly represent clients in Employment Tribunals, High Court and County Court litigation cases. Our team is highly experienced in all matters relating to employment law and is well-equipped to provide quality Employment Tribunal advice and representation.
What is an Employment Tribunal?
Employment tribunals are tribunal public bodies which have statutory jurisdiction to hear many different kinds of disputes between employers and employees. They are adjudicated by a legally qualified Employment Judge, who may sit alone, or with two lay members with appropriate experience.
Common disputes heard by Employment Tribunals include unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and employment discrimination. The grounds for these complaints can take a variety of forms, ranging from disability or race discrimination to sexual harassment and equal pay issues. Employment lawyers can also deal with disputes arising from failure to consult and inform on collective redundancies.
Nearly all legal cases about employment are heard in Employment Tribunals.
Beginning the Employment Tribunal process
When a business receives an ET1 claim form, they must file a response using an ET3 form, normally within 28 days, unless a time extension is applied for and granted. If the business feels that they need more information regarding the claim, they can ask for disclosure or more particulars by writing to the claimant.
Submitting a response
Having submitted a response, an employer will consider whether to seek further particulars of the claimant’s case. Often an Employment Tribunal will convene a pre-hearing review which will consider whether any aspects of the claimant’s case have little or no reasonable prospects of success and set out further directions for the conduct of the case, including setting a hearing date.
Employment Tribunal hearings can be listed very quickly, within 4-6 months of commencement of the claim. Employment Tribunals often set tight timescales for disclosure of documentation and exchange of witness statements.
Evidence is typically presented at Employment Tribunals by the use of written witness statements. However, although Employment Tribunals are often less formal than other types of court proceedings, evidence is still provided on oath and parties are expected to follow certain procedures in the way their cases are presented.
All witnesses, both for the employer and employee, can be cross-examined by the representative of the opposing party. Cross-examination is a skill and can be key to the effective presentation of a case. Once all the witness evidence has been heard, the parties make submissions and the Employment Tribunal will normally retire to consider its decision. Sometimes a decision is handed down at the hearing but sometimes, particularly with more complex cases, an Employment Tribunal adjourns the hearing to enable it to provide its decision in writing to the parties.
What if the claim is unsuccessful?
If the business is unsuccessful, an Employment Tribunal can award compensation. The maximum compensation that can be awarded for unfair dismissal is typically a year’s gross salary or up to £78,335 whichever is less. Compensation is potentially unlimited in cases of discrimination and/or involving claims of “whistleblowing”.
If an individual is unsuccessful at an Employment Tribunal, an appeal can be made to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) within 14 days of the issue of the Employment Tribunal decision. However, appeals can only proceed if the appealing party can establish that the original Employment Tribunal decision was either perverse, or there has been an error of law. An appeal cannot be progressed simply because the Employment Tribunal has made findings of fact with which you do not agree. It is, therefore, very important to ensure that the case is well presented and argued before the Employment Tribunal.
How can we help?
Whether you’re an employer who has received a claim or an individual looking to make a claim, Harding Evans Solicitors can help. Our team of employment law solicitors provide specialist Employment Tribunal advice on a wide range of employment issues and, wherever necessary, legal representation at an Employment Tribunal.
We can also advise you on how you can avoid Employment Tribunals and court appearances through measures like conciliation, mediation, and settlement agreements. Whatever the situation, our wealth of experience means we can offer comprehensive and clear guidance and help you get the resolution you deserve.
Get in touch with our expert team today by clicking here.