UK Employment Tribunals Explained?

If you have experienced issues at work and have been unable to resolve them, then you may find yourself resorting to putting your case in front of an employment tribunal.

What happens at an employment tribunal?

The tribunal system is designed to ensure that employers and employees get a fair chance to present their cases. It can be intimidating to have to speak in front of a tribunal, but the tribunal is impartial and they are run in a way that allows ordinary employees to appear by themselves and get a fair hearing even if you do not have a representative to help you.

How Tribunals Work

You will be given a date and time for your tribunal. Aim to arrive at least an hour before your hearing starts so that the clerk can check you (and your representative, if you have one), in, and so that they can discuss any witnesses that you have and any documents that you intend to present.

You will be taken to a waiting room. Don’t worry about encountering your employer while you are there.

The tribunal will have separate waiting rooms for you and your employer. Tribunals are, typically, public events so when you are called into the hearing there may be people watching.

Try to tune them out and simply speak calmly and factually about what happened and what your issue is.

Settling Before The Tribunal

It is not uncommon for employers to try to arrange for a last-minute settlement instead of having the case be heard in court.

If your employer wants to reach out for a settlement they will send their representative to your waiting room to talk to you, or your representative if you have one.

Try to be prepared for this possibility, and think about what you want out of a last-minute settlement. Do not allow the representative to bully you into accepting a settlement if you are not happy with it. Be willing to go to the hearing.

The Tribunal Itself

Try to dress smartly for hearing, and turn off your phone when you go into the room.

Speak politely, addressing the panel members as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something that they say, and remain calm. If you feel intimidated by how you are spoken to by the employer’s representative, then address this by informing the judge.

There will be three-panel members at the hearing, and then you and the employer will have a chance to present your case. There will be a ‘cross-examination’ where the employer’s representative will ask you questions about what you said, and you will be able to do the same to the employer.

The tribunal will meet, and tell you their decision. Usually, you will get a decision on the same day, but sometimes it can take longer.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as formal legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Specific legal advice should be sort tailored to the individual circumstances in all cases.

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    We can be contacted 24 hours a day.
    Our Reading Head Office address is:

    Davidson House
    Forbury Square
    RG1 3EU
    0118 914 5622
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