WORKPLACE / FEB. 05, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Take Your Employer to the Employment Tribunal

If you have a serious disagreement with your employer, then a tribunal may be your only option to try and get some compensation for yourself. But, what exactly does it involve and what are the pros and cons of taking an employer to a tribunal.

What Do Employment Tribunals Do

Employment tribunals typically deal with all legal matters between employers and employees. Typical matters that they deal with include:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Unfair deductions from Pay
  • Here is a full list of legal reasons to take employers to the tribunal

How Exactly Do I Make a Claim

  • You must make your claim within 30 days of the offence
  • Apply online
  • Or Fill in a claim form
  • Pay a Fee

Type of Case

Claim Fee

Hearing Fee

Unpaid wages

£160

£250

Redundancy pay

£160

£250

Breach of contract

£160

£250

Unfair dismissal

£250

£950

Equal pay

£160

£250

Discrimination

£250

£950

Whistleblowing

£250

£950

  • If employer does not respond to claim within 28 days then a judge may decide your case without a hearing.
  • If he does respond, you will meet with the judge to decide how your case will proceed i.e. date and time.

What Happens at a Tribunal

Tribunals are presided over by a judge or panel and proceed much the same as court cases, except they are much shorter and are less formal. Also, you usually either receive the decision on the same day, or in the post. At a tribunal several things usually happen:

  • You should have a representative of some sort. A lawyer is best; this can be supplied by a trade union.
  • You and your employer give evidence
  • You may take documents from work to help your case
  • A colleague may come with you, but they cannot speak for you or answer questions.

What Happens If You Win or Lose the Tribunal

Win:

  • The tribunal can force your employer to pay you compensation
  • Pay your tribunal fees
  • Improve your working conditions
  • Give you your job back

If the employer refuses to adhere to any of these judgements, then the court can force them. You will receive additional compensation in this eventuality.

Lose:

  • Request that the tribunal look at the case again. This must be within 14 days of the decision.
  • Appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This must be within 42 days of the decision.
  • Appealing costs £400 and £1.200 if it goes to a full hearing.

Should You Go To a Tribunal

This is a tricky question as it definitely has its pros and cons. It is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. First of all, an important factor to remember is that if future employers find out that you took a previous employer to a tribunal, they may be hesitant to hire you.  Many of these disputes can be solved through mediation, without going to a tribunal. So, it is important to consider other options before taking the drastic option. Even if you have been the victim of a terrible injustice, look at your case and make sure that you can win before you go to tribunal. There is no point taking risks with future employers if you have no chance of winning. Additionally, the benefits of winning have to outweigh leaving it alone. If the compensation you receive will be minimal, just leave it alone and don’t damage your employment prospects. The job market is tough enough as it is.

Employment tribunals are a very important and powerful tool. However, they should only be used as a measure of last resort. They certainly have their downside, so just remember to use them wisely.

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