What you should know before bringing an employment tribunal claim
- Category: Employment
If you've reached a disagreement with your employer about your rights at work you might be thinking about bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunal. But we think there's a couple of things that you need to know before you do - taking a claim to the Employment Tribunal is a big step.
Firstly it's important to make sure that you've exhausted all of the other avenues that you could have explored before you bring your claim, such as by speaking to, or negotiating with, your employer. Then by raising a formal written grievance, that’s if you're entitled to use a grievance procedure, which you might not be if you’re on a probationary period. Lastly, speaking to ACAS to start a process called ‘early conciliation’ which you could still do even if the grievance procedure doesn't apply to you. Find out more on the national Citizens Advice website ‘Dealing with the problem at work’.
All of these steps are known as alternative dispute resolution and it's part of the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules which encourages parties in the Courts and Tribunals system to try to reach a settlement early in order to save costs, time and public resources. If you don't use alternative dispute resolution, the Employment Tribunal has discretion to reduce your compensation by 25%, so it's really important that you do try to resolve the issues early on.
There's an emerging issue of recruiters using searches from the Employment Tribunals decision archive to create a blocklist of employees that are considered to be ‘troublemakers’ who they don't want to recruit, even if the employee was right as a matter of law in bringing the claim, the recruiter often won’t have time to look at the decision. The employee often doesn’t find out that this was the reason for the refusal, and there's not much that can be done about this at the moment, because justice has to be seen to be done, which is why most Employment Tribunals are open to the public.
The Ministry of Justice produced quarterly statistics for the Employment Tribunal time frames from January to March this year. They revealed that there were 43,971 outstanding single claims to be heard, which is the highest number of single claims since 2009/2010. The average disposal time of a single claim was 43 weeks, and for multiple claims, there were 14,994 with an average disposal time of 122 weeks. It can therefore take a long time to settle a claim and you may have moved on by the time you've reached the final hearing.
There are more remedies available to you when you resolve the dispute early, for example the Employment Tribunal can't make your employer apologise or give you a written reference and orders for reinstatement or reengagement are rare. This is just another reason why here at Citizens Advice North Lancashire we believe that early resolution is important in getting you a good outcome.
We also have an article on our website covering ‘What to think about before you start a claim’ and there’s also a guidance note T420 on the GOV.UK website which talks you through things to think about before you make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. If you need more advice about bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunal, please do get in touch with us.