Do you understand how the system works? Employment tribunals determine disputes between employers and employees over employment rights. The tribunal is independent and will listen to both sides before making a decision.
No matter how well you run your business, there could come a time when an employment tribunal claim could be raised against you.
It is an unnerving experience with potential financial and reputation costs to your business if you lose the case with compensation being awarded to the employee.
If you win, and if the claimant acted unreasonably or their case had no hope of success, you can ask to be awarded costs.
An employee can take raise a claim over various issues, including pay, dismissal and discrimination.
Tribunal cases have increased since the fees were abolished.
Some Useful tips.
In the first instance take advice at the earliest stage possible-when the problem arises it is always better to deal with the issues right at the start: this will usually prevent cases escalating.
Prevention is always better than cure: “The sheer volume of employment rules and regulations can be very daunting to SMEs.
Your business must have compliant employment policies in place that employees can easily access.
Ask us anything about HR, Health & Safety or Employment Law. With over 60 years experience we promise to help.
You must have issued employees with a Statement of Main Terms on day one of their employment.
Employees with less than two years’ service are not entitled to claim unfair dismissal, but there are many ‘day one’ rights, notably those that apply under our discrimination law.
If possible, try to resolve the claim through conciliation before it gets to a hearing, with the help of Acas and mediation.
Preparing for a tribunal can be extremely time-consuming and stressful. There are a number of issues to consider-
· Who will run your business when you are at the hearing;
· You will also likely have employees appearing as witnesses;
· Factor in the possible financial costs and time lost to the business
· Potential damage to your business reputation, decisions are posted on line;
· Legal costs will still be there even if you win the case;
· Procedural issues to be dealt with;
If at all possible, delegate the day-to-day running of your business to someone else while the tribunal is under way to ensure it is not adversely affected while your attention is elsewhere.
There are two simple rules which will keep employers out of the worst kind of trouble.
Letting staff go
If you have to let staff go, make sure you have an objectively fair reason for doing so, ideally one that you can defend with documentary evidence.
Treat staff fairly
Treat all staff fairly and with respect throughout the employment relationship, but especially on termination. That can be a tough ask, but employers achieving that are less likely to receive claims.
If the employee is part of a pension scheme, you must bring full details of the scheme to the tribunal. If the employee is asking to be reinstated, you must say whether this is possible - and, if not, the reasons why. So, think about it in advance.
Membership organisations can offer legal advice to members, so consider joining one to access their independent support and guidance on employment law. However, many of these services do not provide on-site support to help you deal with these issues and only offer basic support and guidance.
If you do find yourself facing a tribunal, get proper legal advice. LBJ Consultants can support you, if you have no HR or inhouse HR support, at the tribunal.
We have a wealth of experience in both preparing and presenting cases.
We will respond to the ET1, prepare your ET3 and create your bundle of evidence that will be used at the hearing and interview all witnesses.
Call 0141 319 8191 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org