More often than not, employees are dissatisfied with the outcome of their employer’s formal grievance redressal or disciplinary procedures. Subsequently, they may wish to take their case to an employment tribunal.
Employment law in the UK stipulates that the Employment Tribunals is an independent body that is able to give a ruling on workplace issues that may have not have settled, much to an employee’s dissatisfaction.
Normally, this happens if the employer fails to correctly follow the formal procedures for handling discrimination at work or instances of gross misconduct.
Let us take a look at the possible options for you, in case you have suffered discrimination at the hands of your employer.
In case, you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a formal grievance, disciplinary procedure or have not been paid correctly, you may be eager to take the case to an employment tribunal. Before doing this, however, you need to go through what is known as Early Conciliation.
Offered by ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), early conciliation is the next recommended step if you have had an issue at your workplace, which your employer has not been able to deal with properly.
Early Conciliation was introduced under employment law, in a bid to reduce the number of employment claims reaching the employment tribunal.
Early Conciliation is free and involves a discussion between you and your employer in the presence of an independent ACAS representative. The representative is there to try and find an acceptable solution to the whole situation.
While the Initial discussion usually takes place over the telephone, further meetings and discussions may be arranged in the presence of all involved parties in order to attempt to reach an agreement between the employee and employer.
If you are able to agree to a possible settlement with your employer through early conciliation, both the parties will have a statement that explains the agreed course of action.
This document is legally binding, therefore, both you and your employer must do whatever has been agreed.
Employment Tribunal Hearings
Employment tribunals are independent bodies, which help deal with claims made by employees who feel that they have been treated unfairly faced harassment at work.
An employment tribunal will thoroughly investigate the case based on the evidence provided and decide whether your employer was in the wrong, pertaining to your dispute.
Time Limits for Employment Tribunal Applications
When it comes to applying to the tribunal, there are strict time limits. Therefore, it is imperative you do not delay if you believe you have a claim.
In general, the time limit is set at 3 months less one day from the date when the reported incident last took place.
For example, if you have suffered unfair dismissal, you must make your claim in the employment tribunal within 3 months less one day of the termination of your employment.
Furthermore, as you will need to consult ACAS and undertake Early Conciliation before you can make an employment tribunal claim, the aforementioned time limit is ‘paused’ while you are in process with ACAS and once early conciliation is over, the clock starts once more.
At this point, you will be issued with a certificate. You then have 1 month less one day from the date of issue of the certificate OR three months less one day for the last reported incident, whichever is latest, to issue you claim
Overall, it is extremely important that you adhere to the employment tribunal time limits. However, it is advisable to seek professional help from experienced employment law solicitors on your specific circumstances.
Employment Tribunal Court Fees
There are no longer any court fees required in Employment Tribunal cases. These were revoked earlier this year.
Submitting Your Claim
Nowadays, you can submit an employment tribunal claim online.
After the tribunal reviews your application, it contacts your employer to provide their side of the story and then schedules a hearing.
In case your employer fails to respond within 28 days, the tribunal may give its decision based on your application without a formal hearing.
On the other hand, if your employer responds, the tribunal holds a hearing. Subsequently, a judge may meet with you to discuss the location and timings of the hearing, and any other decisions, which are necessary.
Subsequently, the tribunal sends you a letter confirming the schedule of the tribunal hearing.
Employment Tribunal Decisions
If you win the claim, the employment tribunal will order your employer to pay you a compensation or make changes to your working conditions. Your employer may also be asked to give you your old job back.
Having said this, the amount of compensation will depend on several factors pertaining to your situation, job, and the type of claim you made.
Overall, in general, there are upper limits for how much compensation can be given to you, except in cases of discrimination.
Appealing the Judgment
In case, you lose your case, there are still options available. If you are not satisfied by the tribunal’s verdict, if you were not able to attend the hearing, or if there is some new evidence that you have, you can submit a written application to the tribunal and request a review.
This must be done within 14 days of hearing the decision.
A review will only take place if there is sufficient reason that the tribunal missed out on an important piece of fact or evidence that may have made a difference.
Alternatively, you can contact the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which presides over the tribunal and gives its rulings based on employment tribunal cases.
Subsequently, you need to contact the Employment Appeal Tribunal within 42 days of receiving the judgment from the tribunal.
As with the Employment Tribunal, there are no longer any court fees required when submitting a claim to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.