I’m an employer

Employment Tribunals

Our track record 

We have an excellent record of defending Employment Tribunal claims for our employer clients and a high success rate. 

Of course, many cases do not reach the final stage of a claim, which is the liability hearing when the Employment Tribunal decide on whether the case succeeds. Most cases are either settled before then or the Claimant withdraws their claim. We can advise you on whether we believe you are very likely to lose your claim and should therefore seek to settle it or whether you should continue to defend it. Either way we can advise you on what litigation tactics can be used to try and lessen your exposure or, in some circumstances, have the case withdrawn. 

When the Employment Tribunals were originally set up in the 60’s they were intended to offer speedy and informal resolution of employment related disputes. But their workload is now so heavy and the law so complex that claims often take many months to come to hearing, and parties are often represented by solicitors and barristers. Cases, especially ones involving allegations of discrimination and whistleblowing are complex and heavy on the law. We do not recommend anyone attempting to do those cases without the assistance of qualified legal representation.  Your defence to these types of cases will often succeed – or not-  depending on the quality of cross examination as well as legal submissions. 

How do Employment Tribunals work?

For a discrimination or a whistleblowing claim a tribunal will comprise of an Employment Judge and two lay members. One of the lay members will be a representative from an employer organisation and the other lay member will be a representative from an employee organisation. The panel of 3 have equal input as to the outcome of the case. For some types of cases (including unfair dismissal) it will be an employment judge on their own who will hear and decide on the case. 

The panel usually sit at a slightly raised desk facing forward. The atmosphere is like a court but slightly less formal. For example, nobody wears wigs or gowns and the solicitors / barristers remain seated throughout the hearing. However. evidence is taken on oath and there are rules about what happens and who speaks when. There will be witness statements and a bundle of documents which the parties will refer to throughout.  This is the evidence and how it is presented and what is included in the bundle are crucial to the case. 

Most hearings are open to the public and so, if this is your first time facing an Employment Tribunal claim,  it can be useful to go and watch a hearing to get a feel for what it might be like. Bear in mind of course that all cases are different and yours may not be exactly like the one you go to.

The Employment Tribunal process: 

1. At a preliminary hearing the judge, along with your legal representative, will identify the legal issues and which questions the Tribunal need to address as part of the claim. The Judge will also set down directions for preparing the case for the hearing this will usually include a Schedule of Loss, disclosure and the exchange of written witness statements. Both parties should be fully prepared for the hearing when it arrives. 

2. At the liability hearing the Tribunal will hear the evidence.  After the evidence is given, the parties have an opportunity to make a speech on the facts and the law in an attempt to persuade the Tribunal to find for their respective client. 

3. The Tribunal will then retire to consider the outcome. Sometimes, particularly after a lengthy or complex case, the Judgement will be reserved. This means that the Tribunal will type up the Judgement and send it to the parties once it is finished. This can take weeks or several months. 

4. Most of the time, but not always, there will be a separate hearing to deal with remedy (compensation). These hearings are only necessary if the case succeeds. 

5. Employment tribunals are different to the courts when it comes to costs. Unlike the courts, the Claimant (your employee) will not have to pay your costs if they lose their case. Likewise, if the Claimant succeeds you won’t automatically have to pay their legal costs. There are exceptions to this rule and we can advise you on this.  Generally, you should assume that your legal costs will not be recovered from the other side even if you successfully defend the claim. 

6. If you receive an adverse Judgement you can consider an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal but these only succeed if you can persuade the EAT that the Tribunal got the law wrong or the decision was perverse. You will need specialist legal advice on this.  

As solicitors, we are experienced in advising on and handling employment tribunal cases for employers.   If you are an employer and are facing an Employment Tribunal claim (or think you are soon going to receive one) we are very happy to have an initial telephone call with you to find out more about the case and let you know how we can help. The relationship between you and your solicitor is an important one as the process can, at times, be very stressful and time consuming. We aim to alleviate that stress and the time you spend on the case as much as we can and we are here to help you reach the best outcome for you in your unique position. We will not baffle you with legal jargon and we offer pragmatic and commercial advice.  

Here are a few testimonials from some satisfied clients who we successfully represented in Employment Tribunal cases – 

I worked closely with Rachel for a period of 18 months in 2018/19 when my small company was the subject of a number of vexations and unfounded claims from a former employee. Rachel proved herself to be very knowledgeable across all aspects of employment law. She is reliable, dedicated, conscientious, efficient and likeable. She dealt with virtually everything herself which was a big plus, and also showed great empathy for the emotions involved in having to defend such a claim. Rachel consistently gave good, balanced advice but was also willing to listen to and accept alternative views. She was tough, unflappable and a pleasure to deal with. We were represented superbly right up to the moment the claimant realised he had no choice but to withdraw and walk away with nothing on the eve of the scheduled hearing. I would recommend her highly for any Employment related litigation and am happy to be contacted should any further information be required.

Managing Director, Recruitment Company, London 

Well done. You put up a super fight. You did a first class job.” 

Head of Personnel & Training, Public Sector, Surrey

Rachel, thank you for all your help and support this year. It has been very much appreciated and will be remembered.” 

Owner of a chain of Opticians

We are experienced in advising on and handling employment tribunals for employers. Please call us on 01483 303636.

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