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It can be damaging and disruptive to your business to be taken to an employment tribunal by an employee. Seeking legal advice early on can help resolve the issue and could avoid the need for a hearing.
It is important to follow the correct procedure right from the start of a dispute. Failure to do this can result in penalties or the loss of your case.
At BakerLaw we can step in on your behalf to minimise damage and ensure that you adhere to the correct process in defending yourself and your organisation. We usually aim to resolve disputes without recourse to litigation, however if your case does proceed to an employment tribunal, you can be sure of a robust defence.
Our employment lawyers have extensive experience across a range of sectors and in all types of employment claims, including allegations of unfair or wrongful dismissal, breaches of employment contracts, TUPE claims, disputes over restrictive covenants, discrimination, equal pay and whistleblowing.
For expert employment tribunal legal advice for employers from our experienced Employment and HR team, please get in touch.
Our expertise with employment tribunal advice for employers
Employment claims advice for employers
It is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of a dispute with an employee. It is often possible to resolve this at an early stage before positions become entrenched and relationships deteriorate.
We can work with you from the start to try to find an acceptable solution and to ensure that the correct process is followed to avoid any claims of wrongful dismissal.
Settling employment claims without a tribunal
Employees are generally required to attempt to settle a dispute before commencing the employment tribunal process. This will usually be by raising a matter informally, then by lodging a formal grievance if the issue has not been resolved.
If the matter has still not been resolved, then they should report it to Acas who will offer you both early conciliation.
We can help you deal with the conciliation process and ensure that you have all of the relevant evidence to hand. We will negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a solution that is acceptable to both you and your employee.
Employment tribunal representation
If the issue cannot be resolved and it proceeds to an employment tribunal, we will ensure that you have the best possible case as well as expert legal representation.
It is important to ensure that you respond to the claim within the allowed timescale and that your defence sets out your response to all of the allegations against you. You should also make sure that you include all relevant supporting documents such as correspondence between you and your employee and witness statements.
Applications to the Employment Appeal Tribunal
If you are not satisfied with the result of the employment tribunal, there are two grounds upon which you can appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), as follows:
- If the employment tribunal panel made a legal error, such as not interpreting the law correctly
- If the decision is perverse. This means that it is a decision that no reasonable tribunal should have reached on the evidence provided
The Employment Appeal Tribunal will not rehear the case but will examine any alleged legal errors or perverse decision.
Employment tribunals for employers explained
What is the employment tribunal process for employers?
If a claim is being made against you at an employment tribunal, you will receive correspondence from the tribunal which will include a response pack.
You will need to complete and return the paperwork to the tribunal office within 28 days. It is advisable to seek legal advice in responding to the claim to ensure that you do not damage your claim in any way.
The tribunal may hold a preliminary hearing to decide whether the case should be heard, to list the key points and also to set out a timescale for any steps to be taken prior to the hearing, such as the exchange of evidence. It is important to keep to any deadlines that are imposed.
It is possible to continue to attempt to settle the issue throughout this period. If the matter does proceed to a hearing, the tribunal will hear evidence from both sides and allow cross-examination and closing submissions.
The decision may be made on that day or it may be notified to you in writing at a later date.
How long does an employment tribunal take?
HM Courts and Tribunals Service released data before the pandemic saying that the average time between starting a claim and receiving a decision was around 27 weeks. However, this has now risen substantially. Citizens Advice state that the average wait time for single claims such as discrimination or unfair dismissal is around 38 weeks.
What does an employment tribunal look for?
Careful preparation is essential in an employment tribunal case. The tribunal will look at whether the evidence presented supports the claimant’s case or the employer’s case.
As well as documentary evidence such as copies of payslips, the employment contract and correspondence, you should also obtain formal witness statements from anyone with relevant information to provide.
We can advise you on what you will need to provide in an individual case and make sure that you have as strong a defence as possible.
Is it better to settle an employment claim without going to a tribunal?
Settling a claim without recourse to a tribunal is usually far preferable. It will often allow you and your employee to make a clean break, meaning that you can both move on.
Dealing with an employment tribunal claim is generally time-consuming and will distract you and your team from their jobs. With lengthy delays in obtaining a hearing, it may drag on for many months.
A settlement is also likely to require far less evidence to be put together and will generally be a more cost-effective solution. At BakerLaw we are skilled negotiators with a track record of success in settling employment disputes for our clients.
Our employment tribunal advice for employers pricing
Facing an employment tribunal can be daunting for employers. We understand that you will have concerns about costs as well as the outcome of your case.
We always aim to make our pricing fair and transparent, giving our clients expert advice and excellent value for money.
Where possible, we will act on a fixed fee basis, for example when drafting a settlement agreement to end your employee’s time with you. This will give you certainty over the costs involved.
Where you need ongoing support, we will typically charge a fixed hourly rate. In such cases, all work will be agreed in advance, so you stay in control of the costs at all times.
Find out more about our pricing.
Contact our employment tribunal solicitors for employers
If you are an employer looking for clear, practical advice and representation at a tribunal, our expert employment tribunal lawyers can help.