Ask us a question

Free, no obligation legal answers from qualified solicitors - ask away!

Taking an employer to a tribunal

If you have a dispute with your employer which can’t be resolved through other, more informal means, one option is to take them to an employment tribunal. Such disputes can include unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination claims.

Steps to take

Informal discussions. The best option and one which will hopefully bring the dispute to a conclusion are informal discussions between the two sides. It is always preferable to take this option first rather than launching into formal procedures straightaway. However, if these discussions fail to bring about a resolution, then a formal grievance will follow.

  1. If a formal grievance does follow it should be in writing, detailing the issue you have. If you don’t it will not prevent you taking the claim to a tribunal, but it would lead to your eventual compensation figure being reduced by up to 25%. You should raise the matter with your immediate line manager, though if it concerns them, you can inform another manager of the firm’s HR department.
  2. Once the employee raises a grievance then the employer should carry out a thorough investigation and a grievance hearing should be called to enable the employer to be in full receipt of the facts and to ultimately decide whether to uphold the grievance or not.
  3. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, commonly known as Acas, as an alternative, offers a pre-claim conciliation scheme, which will see Acas work with both employer and employee to try and find a solution.

If these attempts at reconciliation prove unsuccessful then it may be that an employment tribunal is the best option. Before deciding on this course of action it is strongly advisable to think carefully about it. An adviser or representative will be able to look at the merits or otherwise of your claim and give you valuable advice on how to proceed.

Employees who hope to take their claim to an employment tribunal have to first fill in a claim form called an ET1.

  • There are time limits involved and in most cases employees will have three months less one day from the date of dismissal. This remains the time limit even if you are in the process of appealing against your dismissal.
  • After you have sent the ET1 you ought to check with the tribunal to confirm whether they have received it. You should, in turn, receive a Notice of Acknowledgment.
  • As well as sending you the Notice of Acknowledgment, the tribunal will copy the ET1 form and send it to your employer to see how they respond and whether they wish to defend themselves. If they do wish to respond, this form is called the ET3 and you should receive a copy of this from the tribunal about four weeks after you sent the ET1.
  • As to how long you will have to wait for a hearing, this partly depends upon how the case is listed for and how busy the tribunal is with other cases. If the hearing is expected to last a day or less you should receive a hearing date between four to six months after putting in the ET1, but it is likely to be longer still if it is a more complicated case that is listed for over a day.