Being taken to an employment tribunal by an employee is likely to be disruptive to your business as well as costly and time-consuming.
There is a risk that you will be penalised if you do not follow the correct procedure or if you fail to meet deadlines and, if a case against you is proved, you are likely to be required to pay compensation. It is important to seek legal help as soon as you can to try and resolve matters if possible and to ensure that you have a robust defence if the case does go before a tribunal.
What is an employment tribunal?
An employment tribunal is a legal forum that hears employment disputes. Cases that can be taken to an employment tribunal include unfair dismissal, discrimination and redundancy disputes.
Before a case can be taken to an employment tribunal, your employee would need to attempt to settle the issue with you. This is done through the conciliation service Acas, so you would be notified of the claim by an Acas officer.
There may be an opportunity to end the case at this early stage, depending on the strength of the employee’s claims and whether you feel it could be worth settling rather than proceeding to a tribunal hearing.
What happens at an employment tribunal?
You should ensure that you respond in time to the claim that you receive. Your response will include your defence and should address all of the allegations made against you and your business.
Your case should include supporting documents and other evidence such as witness statements. This is then disclosed to the claimant and they will also disclose their evidence to you and detail the compensation that they are claiming.
If there is a preliminary hearing, the issues to be decided and the steps up to the final hearing will be listed. There may be a further opportunity to settle at this stage or to take part in mediation to try and find a solution.
At the hearing, it is recommended that you be represented by an experienced employment lawyer who can make sure that your defence is fully presented and that all of the claimant’s points are responded to.
How much does an employment tribunal cost?
The cost of an employment tribunal case will depend on the complexity of the matter, to include the number of witnesses, the amount of evidence and the length of the hearing.
We are usually able to agree fixed fees on our work for the various stages involved in defending an employment tribunal claim. Each case is different, but the guidelines below are an estimate of the usual range of fees you can expect if we represent you:
Simple case: £1,000-£3,000 (plus VAT)
Mid-complexity case: £2,000-£5,000 (plus VAT)
Complex case: £4,000-£7,000 (plus VAT)
This does not include the fees of any expert witness or barrister.
For more information about costs, see our article How much will an Employment Tribunal cost me?
Can an employment tribunal decision be appealed?
A decision made by an employment tribunal can be appealed to an employment appeal tribunal on two grounds.
Firstly, if the employment tribunal made a legal error, for example, by not interpreting or applying the law correctly.
Secondly, if the decision is perverse, meaning that it is a decision which no reasonable tribunal should have reached, given the evidence before it. This basis of appeal is rarely used.
The appeal tribunal will not re-hear the case, but will look at the specific legal point that is being challenged.
What to do if you receive notification of a potential employment tribunal claim
It is recommended that you seek legal advice straight away if you are advised of an upcoming employment tribunal case against you. This will give you the opportunity to put together a strong defence and ensure that all of the deadlines are met.
How Springhouse can help
At Springhouse Employment Solicitors we deal only with employment law meaning we have genuine expertise in the sector. We also have an enviable track record of succeeding with Tribunal claims.
We can help you successfully defend a claim. We will guide you through what can be a complex and sensitive process, ensuring that you comply with everything that is required.
Our specialist employment law solicitors, who have extensive experience in successfully defending claims, will fight doggedly to protect your business and its reputation.
We usually manage to stop cases going to tribunal. If your case does, we will make sure you receive the best representation at tribunal.
Contact us for a free initial case assessment and find out how we can help you.
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