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Employment Tribunals

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 6 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Employment Tribunal Grievance Procedure

The role of an employment tribunal is when you are unable to resolve a dispute with your employer. Here we discuss your entitlements if you win your claim and what happens should you lose.

What is an Employment Tribunal?

Employment tribunals hear cases where a dispute has arisen in the workplace between employee and employer and it cannot be resolved internally. They are less formal than other kinds of court procedures but you do have to have to give evidence on oath and you can be prosecuted for perjury if you lie.

Cases are usually heard by a panel of three people - a legally qualified chairperson and two 'lay members'. The lay members use their own employment experiences in judging the facts. Sometimes a chairperson may sit on their own, for example, to hear any legal arguments.

Do I Need to go to an Employment Tribunal and Will it Cost me?

Where possible, you should always try to resolve any work related disputes in work itself, either directly with your employer or perhaps via a union representative (if you're a union member) or your HR department. If that's not possible, you should then contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or ACAS for specific advice and to find out if you have reasonable grounds for success. Initially, you should follow your Employer's Grievance and disciplinary procedure as, in most cases, a tribunal will not consider your case unless you have followed the correct procedures internally first of all. You need to establish that you are within the time limits as there is only a certain period between when the dispute took place and when a tribunal would consider your claim. In most cases, this is within 3 months of the incident occurring, although it can vary from case to case. There is no cost for making a claim at a tribunal unless you employ the services of a solicitor who will require payment.

How do I Start The Process?

You need to complete form ET1 which you can get from your local Jobcentre Plus, ACAS, an Employment Tribunal office or the Employment Tribunal's website. Alternatively, you can pick one up from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau and a staff member will help you complete it. The form will give information about you, your employer and your complaint and it will confirm that you have followed your employer's internal grievance procedure. If you are complaining of Unfair Dismissal, it is not necessary for you to have used the grievance procedure but your employer should have followed the correct disciplinary procedure.

You then have to send the form to the Employment Tribunal's central office. They will send a copy to your employer who then has 28 days in which to respond.

Will my Claim Take Place?

The tribunal will review all the facts and check whether you can make a claim. If there's any doubt, there will be a preliminary hearing, usually in front of the chairperson.

The tribunal can decide that your claim isn't likely to succeed and can order a pre-hearing review to discuss the issue. If they think you're unlikely to succeed, they can ask you for a deposit of up to £500 which you will lose if you do not win your claim.

If the case goes ahead, 'case management discussions' can be held. At this stage, the tribunal may want to ask you and/or your employer to provide them with further information in order to clarify any issues they may be uncertain about.

Can The Issue be Settled Before The Hearing Takes Place?

It's important to remember that you may not win your claim so if you can resolve the issue satisfactorily before the hearing, it may be in your best interests to do so. ACAS can offer free and impartial conciliation to both you and your employer which may result in an earlier resolution that satisfies both parties. The conciliation period is usually for a maximum period of 7 weeks for a wages dispute, 13 weeks for unfair dismissal and open-ended for discrimination claims.

What Happens at The Hearing?

The tribunal will let you know the date of the hearing. You do not have to appear in person but you must tell the tribunal if you want the hearing to take place in your absence.

In preparation, remember to take all documentation with you to the hearing in support of your claim and arrange it into date order to enable you to describe the series of events which led up to your claim in the order in which they occurred. If you're going to use any documents, you must tell the other side (your employer or their representatives) and give them 7 days' notice that you intend to do this.

At the hearing, you (or your representatives) and your employer both put your cases to the panel and answer questions. The panel then comes to a decision.

You are permitted to take witnesses to the hearing to provide evidence in support of your claim. If they refuse to go, the tribunal does have the power to order their attendance.

If you attend the hearing on your own, the panel will try to make things as clear and simple for you to understand as possible. The procedures are quite informal. Unlike other courts, tribunals don't normally order any side to pay costs unless they decide you or your employer acted unreasonably in bringing the case or if any representatives at the hearing behaved unreasonably.

If You Win

The tribunal can order your employer to pay compensation costs which is unlimited for discrimination or dismissal on health and safety grounds.

However, it's important to remember that a successful claim is not to punish the employer but to provide you with compensation for the loss of earnings for the time you have been off work. In other words, you don't get awarded additional money for hurt feelings and you may have to try and reduce the loss of earnings by taking another job in the meantime or by seeking Jobseeker's Allowance or another kind of benefit that might be appropriate. The tribunal can, in some dismissal cases, order your employer to give you your job back, providing you want it back.

If You Lose

You can ask the tribunal to review its decision, although grounds for this are limited. It's also possible to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which only considers points of law, so you can't appeal if you think the tribunal simply got its facts wrong. In this case, you have the right to legal aid.

For more information and advice, you should contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or ACAS.

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[Add a Comment]
I have a meeting with my employer due tomy abscene in the last 6 months and on the letter that was giving to me to advise me of the meeting with the dates and reason why I was off. One of them dates and reason is because I had a work related injury which caused me to have time off can they use this against me when clearly it wasn't my fault?
Mich - 6-Jun-17 @ 3:18 PM
unsure - Your Question:
I work for a small company of only 4 people, I am the only lady here. My managing director thought it was ok to massage my shoulders a few weeks ago, I ignored him and he done it again about a week later. I moved out of the way that time. I have told the other 2 guys that work here about it and they thought it was funny, I asked them to try and not leave me alone with the managing director as much as they can they said ok. Last week I was on the phone to the pc repair people and had to do things on different pc's at the same time, I had to connect my bosses pc to the guy on the phone and whilst I was doing that my boss grabbed my behind so I quickly moved out of his way but couldn't say anything as I was on the phone. By the time I got off the phone he had gone into a meeting. Since then I have barely spoken to him, I am not comfortable being here anymore but am on good money and not sure I can find these hours anywhere else and have a family to support so can not just up and leave. What do I do?

Our Response:
This is sexual harrassment. Please see our guide here which gives you an overview of what you should do.
SafeWorkers - 12-May-17 @ 12:58 PM
I work for a small company of only 4 people, I am the only lady here.My managing director thought it was ok to massage my shoulders a few weeks ago, I ignored him and he done it again about a week later.I moved out of the way that time.I have told the other 2 guys that work here about it and they thought it was funny, I asked them to try and not leave me alone with the managing director as much as they can they said ok.Last week I was on the phone to the pc repair people and had to do things on different pc's at the same time, I had to connect my bosses pc to the guy on the phone and whilst I was doing that my boss grabbed my behind so I quickly moved out of his way but couldn't say anything as I was on the phone.By the time I got off the phone he had gone into a meeting.Since then I have barely spoken to him, I am not comfortable being here anymore but am on good money and not sure I can find these hours anywhere else and have a family to support so can not just up and leave.What do I do?
unsure - 11-May-17 @ 1:01 PM
carfy - Your Question:
Hi if I had a work accident due to my boss ignorance as he send me to work in industrial machine without any training,so can I take him in court for a claim instead to deal with claiming company ?

Our Response:
Yes you can try an employment injury claims lawyer as well -they should be able to tell you whether you have a valid case.
SafeWorkers - 3-Apr-17 @ 2:35 PM
hi if i had a work accident due to my boss ignorance as he send me to work in industrial machine without any training,so can i take him in court for a claim instead to deal with claiming company ?
carfy - 31-Mar-17 @ 7:51 PM
Babs - Your Question:
Hi I need a little advice my company has made changes to our working week there are 4people working for a cleaning company on site I am the cleaning manager.They have just reduced our working weeks hours by 38hours ,they divided the loss hours between the for of us in the girt consultation.On the second consultation the made one person redundant but no one else was asked as three of us would have like to take redundancy as it was quite a large drop in hours but on going in for our second consultation we had been given a few of the redundant persons hours so still less than we started with but not enough of a drop for us to take our redundancy, we were also given his work to do as well.Can companies make a person redundant then spread there hours to stop you having yours

Our Response:
Yes.If there is only enough work for 3 people, the company can make one person redundant.
SafeWorkers - 29-Mar-17 @ 2:36 PM
Hi I need a little advice my company has made changes to our working week there are 4people working for a cleaning company on site I am the cleaning manager .They have just reduced our working weeks hours by 38hours ,they divided the loss hours between the for of usin the girt consultation .On the second consultation the made one person redundant but no one else was asked as three of us would have like to take redundancy as it was quite a large drop in hoursbut on going in for our second consultation we had been given a few of the redundant persons hours so still less than we started with but not enough of a drop for us to take our redundancy, we were also given his work to do as well .Can companies make a person redundant then spread there hours to stop you having yours
Babs - 28-Mar-17 @ 1:32 PM
Bob- Your Question:
I started work part time with a local cleaning company hours were 20 hours per week, I had a few appointments with the hospital and I advised my Supervisor that I would be having a operation within the next few months. another month had passed and I was advised that I was going into hospital and informed my Supervisor and Company that I could be of sick for between 1 to 4 weeks and they said they had cover. As I only worked over 3 and half months I am aware that I would not be paid any sickness payments and that was not a problem. After 1 week I felt much better and went to see my Doctor about returning to work as the work is easy no heavy lifting I thought it would be alright to return to work. Imagine my surprise when I was informed by the Supervisor that my 20 hours had been given to someone else and if I wanted they would keep me on there books, with guarantee of actually getting any work I decided there was no point just staying on there books after all I won't be working. I need to find out legally where I stand and what my options are.

Our Response:
What kind of contract were you on? If it was a zero hours or agency worker contract, this might all be above board. If it was a standard contract, you should have received Statutory Sick Pay assuming your usually earnings were above £112 per week. If the company has decided to dismiss you because of your absence, they should have followed the standard disciplinary procedure and advised you as such.
SafeWorkers - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:14 AM
I started work part time with a local cleaning company hours were 20 hours per week, I had a few appointments with the hospital and I advised my Supervisor that I would be having a operation within the next few months.another month had passed and I was advised that I was going into hospital and informed my Supervisor and Company that I could be of sick for between 1 to 4 weeks and they said they had cover.As I only worked over 3 and half months I am aware that I would not be paid any sickness payments and that was not a problem.After 1 week I felt much better and went to see my Doctor about returning to work as the work is easy no heavy lifting I thought it would be alright to return to work. Imagine my surprise when I was informed by the Supervisor that my 20 hours had been given to someone else and if I wanted they would keep me on there books, with guarantee of actually getting any work I decided there was no point just staying on there books after all I won't be working.I need to find out legally where I stand and what my options are.
Bob - 19-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
Dotty - Your Question:
I work for a security firm and I suffered a mild stroke while I was in work since October I have been off the sick I'm due to return to work on the 28th December on light duties but my firm are supposed to give me a phase to work meeting but are refusing they just want me to return to work on light duties what rights do I have as an employee to ask for a meeting and are my company within there rights to refuse me a meeting and can I take them to a tribunal

Our Response:
The return to work interview is not compulsory but your employer does have a duty of care towards you, so it would be much better if they implement a return to work that is not detrimental to your health. If your GP/Consultant has suggested a phased return to work, then you can try and insist on this. Give ACAS a call on 0300 123 1100
SafeWorkers - 13-Dec-16 @ 11:07 AM
I work for a security firm and I suffered a mild stroke while I was in work since October I have been off the sick I'm due to return to work on the 28th December on light duties but my firm are supposed to give me a phase to work meeting but are refusing they just want me to return to work on light duties what rights do I have as an employee to ask for a meeting and are my company within there rights to refuse me a meeting and can I take them to a tribunal
Dotty - 11-Dec-16 @ 1:01 PM
Hello! I have been working for an agency for 2 years as a temporary worker. One of the supervisor started to look at me and watch me in a different way, like a man to a woman. I love to smile to people because this is how I am, also I am very kind and nice talking, and perhaps this made him to watch me like this. I thought he really likes me , because he started to watch parts of my body what only just we women we have at work. Also he told me he will do anything for me, and I didn't ask him nothing. Once I refused him by showing Im not in, he started to give different jobs, and hardest oneseven I was trained for a better one. Then as a temporary worker, just started to have shift cancelled , and this made me to have hardest days for my living as a woman. Now he just got married with a woman with who he has a long relationship, but he still giving me hardest time at work, and trying to give me the worst jobs. I am a good worker, I love to work, and I am a hard worker, but also I am a human and woman and I have days like everyone when at my work it needs to understand a person , anyone can be a man also can't work just what is the most hard work. This is a warehouse, and I would like to ask you your advice ! Kind Regards ! Ellie
Ellie - 11-Jun-16 @ 10:42 AM
My dad is a hgv driver, 3 weeks ago he went off work sick in this time he had a mini stroke, been told he can't drive hgv for 12 months and a car for 4 weeks, he gave his boss a new sick note for 6 weeks, and his boss has said I'm going to have to lay you off with ill health,, so I made a claim for ESA, and the boss has been to see my dad at home, to say when you claim benefits make sure you tell them you have left work, my dad said I haven't left you have laid me off and he got up and walked out,, my dad has holidays he hasn't used,, my dads shocked with the whole situation,, can anyone advise me what to do, is this unfair dismissal or can his boss just lay him off like that, I'm at my wits end,, why did the boss keep the sick note when he has Laid my dad off,,
Lou - 5-May-16 @ 10:48 PM
Hi. I started my employment with a company on 23rd of November 15 and was told it I would have my probation reviewed after 3 months. I finally had my review last week (5 months after) & felt it went okay with myself and the director and was told I'd have another review in 4 weeks to which I agreed. I feel My manager does not like me and makes me feel uncomfortable all of the time with his comments. They agreed my holiday and sent me on my way. The manager very cockily stated that he thought I was very lucky to still have my position in the company. Two days after my review I was invited into the into the office with the manager & the director and was handed a letter of termination due to taking my holiday during the launch of the new product ( to which they'd already agreed in the initially review) The director said that he'd pay me till the end of the month but I don't feel that it was fair because he agreed to it already and if there was a problem he should of at least gave me a choice to cancel my holiday but didn't mention anything. I feel it was a way out of sacking me for another reason as the manager has maybe influenced the director.Is this fair??
Sam - 2-Apr-16 @ 4:01 PM
T - Your Question:
My previous employer did not make reasonable adjustments for my disability I was then told I need to move location because of my disability. I started the grievance procedure however the company took 3 months to give me a day for the grievance meeting. I am still able to take this to a tribunal or via any other court

Our Response:
if you feel you have been discriminated against and your employer has not dealt with it effectively then yes, you should consider a tribunal. You have to contact ACAS before proceeding to the tribunal.
SafeWorkers - 9-Feb-16 @ 10:16 AM
My previous employer did not make reasonable adjustments for my disability I was then told I need to move location because of my disability. I started the grievance procedure however the company took 3 months to give me a day for the grievance meeting. I am still able to take this to a tribunal or via any other court
T - 6-Feb-16 @ 4:38 PM
My son is a Hgv driver class1 and 2 over a year ago he was put on bp medication.He did not notify his employer but recently his gp took him off the medication as it was OK.However it was necessary for him to undergo some blood tests to make sure he was OK.Being nightshift the test was arranged for 8 20 am appts being scarce.The night before the test his employer rearranged work schedule which meant there was a chance my son might not make the appointment .My son tried to explain this but employer became angry because he could not do the run and told my son not to come back until he had a letter from gp relating to hius fitness todrive.Had my son been prepared to not go to the blood test this wwould not have occurred and he has worked there for over 2 years without any absences.My son has learned from another driver that they intend to pay him off .Can his employer do this?
Mary Millar - 15-Jan-16 @ 4:28 AM
Can I have some advise started work last November but in August was rushed to hospital and it has been discovered I have heart problems after spending a week in hospital I have been signed off unfit for work until I see the consultant in December. I have been told not to drive or do any heavy lifting my firm have been paying me SSP but contacted me today and said they would like me to go to Derby (I live in London ) and carry out light duties until I am seen in December.I don't want to go as I feel they are bullying me. My sick note says unfit to work can they make me go if I don't go I think they will sack me.
Donald - 16-Oct-15 @ 6:16 PM
Hi i just need a little advice. I dont work but my fiance does due to me having severe crohns disease (most of my bowel removed) last year my partner had a lot of compassionate leave due me having an inflamed and enlarged gallbladder at the time i had a operation and doctor advised i needed someone to care for me as i would be in a lot of care he rang his employer and asked if he could use his holiday entitlement so he didnt lose money they said no so he took compassionate leave. They kicked off about it and was presuring my partner for proof of my gallbladder which i got a sick note then they want proof that i even had crohns. They wanted to pay for me to have a medical exam to see if i am ill. Which i said no. They put his bradford score to 1000. They then said they want proof from my doctor so i rang my doctor he said he wouldnt do that as they have no right to ask for that as i am not there employer and that they are being very unreasonable. So i gave them my tax credit award notice which states i have a disibility. Which was bot good enough they wanted it to state i have crohns. 2 weeks ago i was rushed to a&e due to having a bad blockage in my bowel which they wanted to operate on which i said no to as we couldnt afford my partner to have unpaid leave as coming up to Christmas so they discharged me even though i still had pain and was told i needed rest and a liquid diet. My partner had 2 days off and again they were saying they wanted proof so i rang my doctor and told him i really needed this proof so my doctor agreed this time but he said he wouldnt do it again as there not my employer. I feel so under preasure that if i get ill again my partner will be sacked. Im nothing to do with there company but i feel im being treated unfairly.
klouxx - 11-Sep-15 @ 1:43 PM
Magrob - Your Question:
I won my Employment Tribunal (ET) case for Disability Discrimination in 2013 and received an award of over £12k. My employer knowingly ignored an agreed reasonable adjustment before then placing me in a role without any reasonable adjustments whatsoever. They ignored my complaints and I was then hurt trying to accommodate their wishes to keep me in that role. The ET found them guilty of seven illegal acts of disability discrimination. Unfortunately, my condition did not improve - it deteriorated and after being on long term sick since October 2014, I applied for Ill Health Retirement, and after assessment retired in May 2015 rather than continue on Nil pay and be sacked for continued absence. I will have lost a lot of future earning by the time I reach state pension age in nine years-time.Am I able to pursue my ex-employer’s illegal actions in another court using my ET evidence and final decision as support?I have also joined a charity to raise awareness of my type of disability and am considering writing an article/s about when things go wrong in your employment - from making an initial complaint, the internal process, to taking the case to tribunal and even representing your own case.Are there any restrictions in the sharing of the ET case, its findings, decisions etc?

Our Response:
If as a result of the ET findings, your employer proceeded to make the necessary adjustments, then it's unlikely you will be able to take this further via a separate tribunal/court case - although an employment lawyer may be able to tell you differently. As for publicising the findings, you should seek advice on that too, especially if you think the employer might take action for libel if you do.
SafeWorkers - 11-Sep-15 @ 11:46 AM
I won my Employment Tribunal (ET) case for Disability Discrimination in 2013 and received an award of over £12k. My employer knowingly ignored an agreed reasonable adjustment before then placing me in a role without any reasonable adjustments whatsoever. They ignored my complaints and I was then hurt trying to accommodate their wishes to keep me in that role. The ET found them guilty of seven illegal acts of disability discrimination. Unfortunately, my condition did not improve - it deteriorated and after being on long term sick since October 2014, I applied for Ill Health Retirement, and after assessment retired in May 2015 rather than continue on Nil pay and be sacked for continued absence. I will have lost a lot of future earning by the time I reach state pension age in nine years-time. Am I able to pursue my ex-employer’s illegal actions in another court using my ET evidence and final decision as support? I have also joined a charity to raise awareness of my type of disability and am considering writing an article/s about when things go wrong in your employment - from making an initial complaint, the internal process, to taking the case to tribunal and even representing your own case. Are there any restrictions in the sharing of the ET case, its findings, decisions etc?
Magrob - 10-Sep-15 @ 12:43 PM
@Faye. Call ACAS for information on how to take action regarding these specific incidents.
SafeWorkers - 23-Jun-15 @ 11:37 AM
I have been suspended from work on allegations of sexual harassment although I believe that I am actually the victim having been threatened by the accusers boyfriend when I was working who told me he was going to make me lose my job. I believe he has made the woman make the accusation and force her to go as far as getting a solicitor involved threatening a tribunal after reading some Facebook messages and becoming very jealous. I have a disciplinary meeting with my HR department soon. I have written everything down I can think of in my defence. Any other advice please?
Moxy - 22-Jun-15 @ 11:20 AM
A fellow employee was harrassing me sexually and verbally.I made this known to the manager and it continued. I took it higher and nothing was done till the said colleague prevented me from gaining entrance into the work premises as he was the security man. I was suspended from work with full pay despite my complaints and the management deliberately missed my two week wage without explanation. Please advice
Faye - 18-Jun-15 @ 11:08 AM
@Bluebird71. Yes this is a breach of contract on your employer's part. First, talk to your employer and let them know that you are going to take further action, this may prompt them to rectify the situation. If that doesn't work, follow your company's complaints procedure - your HR department will be able to provide you with a copy if you don't have one. If this cannot be resolved "in house" you can take your employer to an Employment Tribunal.
SafeWorkers - 23-Apr-15 @ 2:29 PM
I've been working for this company for 6 years now and the last 2 and a half years I've been working from 2am till 10. But I've never been paid night rate. My contract when I first started stated any hours worked after 10pm should be paid time and a third up until 7am. But I've never been paid this money. I have asked a few times about it but I get fobbed off with an excuse. It's my fault for doing the shift as no one wanted to do it. Is there anything I can do to claim the money back owed
bluebird71 - 21-Apr-15 @ 12:16 PM
@what should i do. Why not give ACAS a call? You'll need examples of the type of behaviour that staff have been submitted to and all the details of any company policies etc.
SafeWorkers - 20-Jan-15 @ 2:41 PM
I had worked for a small company with only 7 people in which within 2 years 3 people had been signed off work for stress. Is there any merits for a claim against the employer for a failure of the health and safety of its employees? I'm concerned for the remaining people still working there.
what should i do - 17-Jan-15 @ 9:08 PM
recently attended employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. respondent offered prior to hearing £1000 which I refused. This was then increased to £3000 as respondent had admitted they failed to have meetings before my redundancy. at the hearing the respondent told so many lies it pays not to be honest and tell the truth, even their solicitor admitted there were many flaws in redundancy procedure. we vacated room and respondents solicitor asked to see my pay slips to work out remedy she was convinced they had lost the case. when we returned judge spoke about other cases which only confused all in room finally agreeing that there was an unfair dismissal and then proceeded to say case dismissed. we were all astonished as no one new who had won we presumed the respondent had, this was the case but not crystal clear. favouritism is given to the employer in particular those that have been able to afford legal representation. ive never had faith in our justice system and this can only enforce my thoughts that the system is so corrupt.
taffy - 7-Jan-15 @ 8:49 PM
@FOOTYMAD> did you get anything in writing from the original case? This should have been documented. Go back to your original lawyer and see if there's any information to be gleaned from them. Sorry we cannot be of more help but we don't have all your details and cannot offer specific individual legal advice.
SafeWorkers - 6-Jan-15 @ 1:37 PM
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