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The Process of an Employment Tribunal Case

Employment Tribunal Process

Employment Tribunal proceedings may be an unavoidable step in your journey to remedy your employment issue. Employment Tribunals have the jurisdiction to hear disputes between employer and employee and decide an outcome. The Tribunal is governed by specific Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, which can be daunting and confusing for a layperson.

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At Kalra Legal Group, our team of employment tribunal solicitors are experienced in supporting both employers and employees with Employment Tribunal matters. Whether you are at the start of the process, or at the final stages of a Tribunal hearing, we are able to assist and offer our trusted advice and proactive support.
We have great experience with Employment Tribunal matters and can assist with various claims, including:

– Unfair dismissal and redundancy;
– Discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or/and sexual orientation;
– Whistleblowing;
– Harassment;
– Victimisation;
– Breach of contract;
– Unlawful deduction of wages.

The Employment Tribunal claim process can be summarised as set out below.

1. Contact ACAS for ACAS Early Conciliation
In the vast majority of cases, the first step to lodging a claim with the Employment Tribunal surprisingly does not involve the Tribunal itself – the first step is to contact ACAS.

ACAS is an independent public body that acts as a conciliator between employer and employee. Their aim is to resolve employment disputes without the need for Employment Tribunal action. It is an incredibly useful and recommended service. You can contact them here.

By contacting ACAS, you can start a process called ACAS Early Conciliation. Usually, you must contact within 3 months less one day of the last act/incident. When you have contacted ACAS and started the process, an ACAS Conciliator will be appointed to your case, and you will be able to negotiate a remedy (i.e. compensation) with your employer via this service. The Early Conciliation process can take up to 6 weeks. ACAS can formalise any agreement between the parties by preparing a COT3 Agreement – this is legally binding.

We often support clients throughout the ACAS process – from filing the ACAS Early Conciliation Notification to liaising with the ACAS Conciliator, we have high success in settling matters at this stage. If you require assistance or advice with your case, please contact our employment lawyers.

2. File the ET1 claim form
If you are unable to reach an agreement via ACAS Early Conciliation, you will be provided with an ACAS Certificate. This is a key document, as it will change the typical 3 month less one day time limit to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal. We highly recommend you seek legal advice on the new deadline as it is vital to file your claim in time, or you may be left empty handed.

After ACAS Early Conciliation is finished, the next step is to file the ET1 claim form and supporting particulars of claim online. You will be required to insert personal details such as your contact details and your employment details into the online portal.

You will also be required to submit your supporting particulars of claim in RTF format. This is arguably the most important part of the claim, as it sets out your claim(s) in detail. If you fail to complete the particulars of claim accurately, it could be the downfall of your case. Therefore, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice for this process. We have great experience in drafting ET1 and particulars of claims, ensuring the document is prepared accurately, and that the particulars of claim set out the claim from a legal perspective, meeting the legal test.

3. Receive the ET3 response form
Once you have filed the ET1 and supporting particulars of claim, it is a waiting game to see your employer’s defence.

Employers are required to return the ET3 response form within 28 days of receipt of the ET1. In practice, this is usually around 1-2 months from the date you file the ET1 due to processing delays.

4. The hearing is listed
You will usually receive the defence and correspondence from the Employment Tribunal at the same time.

The Tribunal will send an information pack and listing details for the hearing. This will set out where and when the hearing will take place – recently due to the COVID pandemic a number of cases are being heard remotely.

There may be a “preliminary hearing” to deal with any initial issues that have been identified – for example, if there is an issue regarding the time limit, or the jurisdiction to hear the claim. This will take place a few weeks or months before the “full merits hearing” (the final hearing).

Before the hearing, you will need to complete the List of Issues, to be agreed between the parties. This is essentially a list of questions that the Tribunal need to consider to determine whether your claim will be successful. The foundation for these questions is usually the legal test for the claim, therefore it is best to receive legal advice to complete this.
You will also be required to complete a Case Management Agenda. Both parties will complete this document, which will allow the Judge to draw up deadlines for the completion of Case Management Orders (more on this later).

Your hearing may also be listed for a “full merits hearing”. This is the final hearing in which a decision will be made on your claims.

5. Case Management Orders
Before the “full merits hearing”, there are a number of Orders that must be completed as part of Tribunal preparations. The most common orders are:

– Schedule of loss – the detailed breakdown of the award you are requested as compensation if you are successful in your claim.- Disclosure and bundle preparation – the disclosure of all evidence in support of your claims. Both parties are required to liaise to complete the bundle, but responsibility for the bundle itself usually falls on the employer.
– Witness Statements – a written statement of evidence explaining your position on your claims (i.e. your version of events and feelings).
We have great experience in helping clients and completing Case Management Orders ahead of their Tribunal hearing.

6. The full merits hearing
The day has finally come and it is now time for your hearing to take place.

We recommend barrister representation on the day of the hearing, and we can provide you with several candidates from our network of barrister contacts that you can choose to represent you. We can liaise on the barrister on your behalf to ensure they are well aware of your case before the big day.

If required, a member of our team will also attend the hearing to provide that extra level of support and assistance.

Contact us for further details on the employment tribunal process and any specific queries you have.

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If you believe your wages have been deducted unlawfully by your employer, please contact us and one of our team of employment lawyers will offer a 15 minute no obligation consultation call where we can discuss your matter and the next steps going forward.