Whether you have your HR procedures down to a ‘T’ or not, facing an Employment Tribunal claim can be extremely stressful. Employment law imposes strict time limits on employers to act, so if you think you might be facing a claim, it is important to speak to an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
Types of Employment Claim
- Constructive dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
- Unfair dismissal
- Breach of contract
- Harassment and victimisation
- Unlawful deduction of pay
Once you have received a Claim Form (ET1), you have just 28 days to complete the Response Form (ET3)- which should be attached to the ET1 but is downloadable from the government website. It is important that the details in the ET3 are as accurate as possible. Equally, it is important to establish in this period, and indeed, throughout the process, whether it might be more sensible for you to consider settlement.
After receiving an ET1, it is likely you would hear from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) whose mission it is to assist in settling employment disputes where an amicable solution could be reached. They cannot represent you in court proceedings but they will act as a go-between for you and your employee or ex-employee.
After both parties have exchanged their version of events, the Employment Tribunal will give orders as to when the parties are to disclose documents, exchange witness statements as well as attend interim and final hearings.
If you believe the claim has been brought on false or weak pretence, it can be tempting to want to fight any claim to the end however, cases which run through until a final hearing in the Employment Tribunal are lengthy, costly and stressful, sometimes running for 2-3 years and costing tens of thousands of pounds. Part of this cost may be solicitors fees which you are unlikely to recover from the Claimant, even if you are successful but this isn’t the only cost involved in fighting a claim, the chances are that other employees in your business will need to provide witness statements and attend hearings during work time. Therefore, negotiating a settlement can be the most commercially sensible option.
What to do
Contact an employment lawyer. At Rudlings Solicitors LLP, we can assist you in working out where to go next and how to limit your costs when defending an Employment Tribunal claim. It is our intention to help you manage claims in the most cost effective and discreet way possible.
If you are being threatened with, or have already received a claim, please contact Louise Harcombe on 01842 757 423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.