Clients often ask about the Employment Tribunal procedure and what they can expect if they submit a claim. Read on for an outline of the main steps taken by the Employment Tribunal when considering a claim.
Whether you are representing yourself or whether you have someone helping you, the Employment Tribunal procedure can be daunting. To properly prepare yourself you need to understand how an Employment Tribunal claim will progress and move forward. Obviously, I would hope that any person submitting or defending a claim at the Employment Tribunal would first contact us at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors for help. However, for those who have decided to go it alone, I hope this blog is helpful.
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 1: Employment Tribunal Claim Form ET1.
An ET1 Claim Form is the way most people will start their claim to the Employment Tribunal. Essentially, it is best to fill in the online ET1 Form available on the Employment Tribunal website. You can also download and print a copy of the form if you would prefer. However, the online ET1 Form gives you certainty about when a claim has been received by the Employment Tribunal. This could be important if there is a dispute about time limits.
The claim form is a very important document. Within the form you will need to give basic information about yourself and your employer (and/or anyone else your claim is against). You will also have to set out a brief summary of what has happened and then explain to the Employment Tribunal what you believe your claims are.
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 2: Acceptance of Employment Tribunal claim
Once the Employment Tribunal receive your ET1, they will undertake a sift process to ensure that they have jurisdiction to hear the claims you have submitted. As part of that process, they will check you have correctly completed the form, check you have a valid ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate and, also, that the claims you are submitting are in time.
Assuming there are no problems with your claim form, it will be accepted by the Employment Tribunal and they will send a copy to the Respondents (being your employer and/or anyone else your claim is against).
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 3: Employment Tribunal Response Form ET3
When the Respondents receive your claim form, they will have 28 days to submit an ET3 Response Form to the Employment Tribunal. In that form, they will have to set out some basic information about themselves. Also, they will need to explain whether they accept or defend the claims. If they chose to defend them, they should explain how and why.
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 4: Employment Tribunal Case Management Orders
To ensure the claim runs smoothly and that all documentation, witness statements etc are ready for the final hearing, the Employment Tribunal will usually make a number of orders which the parties must comply with. The orders will state what each party has to do and by when. For example, orders are usually made for things such as: –
1. Providing a Schedule of Losses/valuation of the claim.
2. Exchanging relevant documentary evidence.
3. Creating a bundle of documents for use at the Final Hearing.
4. Exchanging statements from relevant witnesses.
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 5: Employment Tribunal Preliminary Hearing
For claims that are not straightforward, for example, discrimination matters, the Employment Tribunal sometimes require the parties to attend a Preliminary Hearing. That hearing can be by telephone conference call or in person before an Employment Tribunal Judge.
At a Preliminary Hearing, the Employment Tribunal can agree with the parties the best way forward for the claim. For example, it could be that Case Management Orders similar to those above could be agreed with the Employment Tribunal Judge and the parties at a hearing. It could be a hearing is required to consider someone’s status as a disabled person. Also, Preliminary Hearings are sometimes used where there is a dispute whether the Employment Tribunal have jurisdiction to consider the claim (for example, where it is suggested the claim is “out of time”).
Preliminary Hearings are also used to clarify the claims and issues between the parties. If, for example, an ET1 Claim Form did not properly identify the claims, it may be necessary to clarify the situation with an Employment Tribunal Judge.
Employment Tribunal Procedure – Step 6: Employment Tribunal Final Hearing
By the time you get to a Final Hearing, you will have received all the documents which are going to be referred to and the witness statements for those witnesses who will attend and give evidence.
The Employment Tribunal will hear all the witness evidence and review the documentation they are referred to in the bundle. They will then come to a decision and make a Judgement about whether they uphold or dismissal the Claimant’s claims.
If either party disagree with the decision, then they might apply for a reconsideration of the Judgement or, alternatively, appeal the Employment Tribunal’s decision depending on the circumstances.
Can Lincs Law Employment Solicitors help you?
The above is a very brief overview of the Employment Tribunal procedure which I hope is helpful. However, it is no substitute for a proper assessment of your situation. If you are considering an Employment Tribunal claim or a claim has been submitted against you, we would be delighted to assist. For a free, no obligation, telephone consultation please call 01522 440512. Alternatively, for more information about Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor,
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, Lincoln.