Employment Tribunals, Lets Get Real.

One of the main issues that I came across at the beginning and throughout my employment tribunal journey was a lack of information.

I don’t just mean regarding the process, but what the true costs really were for the claimant.

If you would prefer to watch the Vlog edition of this post then please click here.

After receiving a successful judgement in my own employment tribunal, I refused to sign a COT3 agreement and turned down the promise of additional financial compensation from my former employer because I wanted the ability to speak freely about everything that myself and my family went through.

At the time, I didn’t know if or how I would use it, but I instantly knew that it all had to be for a reason and that I somehow wanted to turn all of the negativity that we experienced into something positive, and here we are!

I genuinely believe that by talking and raising awareness surrounding the horrendous treatment of some employees by their employer, it will be the only way to implement change.

If we can stop the problem at its source, it would dramatically reduce the need for the employment tribunal process.

Rather than pulling people out of the river upstream, let’s try to stop them from falling in the first place.

If you think you’ve been treated unfairly at work, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue without going to a tribunal. Check your contract or company handbook for the grievance procedure.

As an employee, you are entitled to be given the chance to discuss your concerns. Generally, in the first instance, you would have to formally raise a grievance in writing, and you can find template letters on websites such as ACAS and Valla UK. Alternatively, there are social media forums for help and support for those experiencing issues with their employers who may be able to direct you to a reliable source.

If, like me, your grievance is not upheld and you still feel that the matter is unfair and unresolved, please do not feel that you have to go forward.

If you choose to, the next step would be to register with Acas, which can be done via their website. Once you have completed the initial application, you will be assigned a conciliator.

Their role is to act as a mediator between yourself and your former employer (or their representative) to try and reach a resolution that both parties will agree to.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not always financial. Some have to resort to this method in order to obtain a reference, so that they are able to continue working in their field of expertise or to make sure that they are paid correctly for their services to the company if they are made redundant.

If you can’t find a solution through ACAS, your next step is to go to an employment tribunal. But before that, you need a certificate from ACAS to show that you’ve gone through the required process.

It is extremely important to me that I am always brutally honest about the impact of the tribunal process on an individual. Once you begin to register your claim, you literally hit the ground running, and decisions that you make at the beginning of your claim can weigh heavily on your choices further down the line.

When you register your claim against your employer with the Employment Tribunal, you usually have 12 weeks to do so. This time starts from the date when the issue happened, like when you were made redundant, treated unfairly or faced a negative situation at work.

When completing the ET1 form to bring your claim against your former employer, it is imperative that you fill it out correctly.

The tribunal will not advise you on what claim the detriment that you suffered falls under. If you are able to obtain any free legal advice beforehand from a no win no fee solicitor through a free consultation, ACAS, or the Citizens Advice Bureau, it will help you understand what category it falls under.

You may decide to engage the services of a solicitor under a no win, no fee agreement or self funded. Please make sure that you check the CFA (conditional fee agreement) or contract before agreeing and be clear on the terms, particularly where additional or substantial costs may be involved.

If you have any form of insurance, including house or car insurance, call the company and ask if you have coverage extending to employment matters. If so, you may be entitled to a solicitor at no initial cost. Please note that coverage under insurance usually operates in the same way as a no-win, no-fee arrangement, so always be clear on the terms and conditions before engaging their services.

If you are part of a union, they may help to prepare your claim and, in some cases, also agree to represent you.

Alternatively, you are not obliged to have legal representation and are able to go forward as a litigant in person like myself.

This is extremely difficult, but it does have one important advantage.

Lets start with the negatives because sadly, there are lots of them!

Obviously, unless you have knowledge or experience surrounding employment law, it is literally an uphill marathon from start to finish.

That being said, there are lots of resources out there, but you have to know where to look!

Social media support and help forums are a good place to start, as is the government website. Here, you can look back over past judgments and, in some instances, see the written reasons by the judge to accompany the ruling.

These can be helpful in assisting you to understand your claim and also give you insight into the vital points that the ET will take into consideration on which to base the outcome.

Never underestimate the true cost of an employment tribunal, especially on a personal level.

Not only can it be extremely difficult to relive negative experiences almost daily while preparing for your hearing, but as the saying goes, “attack is the best form of defense.” Be prepared for plenty of detrimental suggestions regarding your performance or behavior by the respondent.

In my situation, I understand that many of those who I had considered friends at the time were put in a position where they had to choose a side. Unfortunately, the majority backed the wrong side, and I haven’t spoken to them since I left over three years ago.

So, where is the advantage, you may ask?

For me, it was most definitely that I was in control of my own case. Even though I made mistakes, I would learn from them. As long as I continued to move forward, I felt that I could overcome most hurdles put in front of me.

I had suffered at the hands of those who had a duty of care towards me. After putting my trust in them and having my fingers well and truly burned, I soon larned that, at least alone, I only had the people whom I truly believed had my best interests at heart behind me.

I mentioned earlier that decisions made at the beginning of the process heavily impact your decisions later down the line.

I can tell you from experience that there really are no winners in an ET, and 2 years on from my final hearing, I am yet to meet anyone who has come out of the journey unscathed.

Never compare yourself to others and never feel that the process is a personal reflection on your abilities or capabilities. Every claimant’s case is individual, just like us.

What may be right for someone else isn’t necessarily the right choice for you.

I have said so many times over the past few years that it takes a tremendous amount of bravery to begin the employment tribunal process, and I honestly believe that nobody in the right mind would start it unless they truly believed in their case.

That said, I believe that it also takes an enormous amount of courage to know when it’s time to walk away.

Your mental and emotional health and well-being must always remain paramount throughout.

If the process becomes too much, you have no legal obligation to continue and are free to withdraw your claims at any time.

Unless your claims have been brought maliciously, vexatiously or had no reasonable chance of success from the beginning, it is highly unlikely (but not unheard of )that you will be made to pay costs on the respondents behalf for costs throughout the proceedings that they have incurred.

However, If you have engaged the services of a representative or solicitor then it may be more complicated.This is why it is imperative that you check and triple check the small print before entering into an agreement with them.

For self funded agreements, it may be that there is a clause to say that withdrawal of claim negotiations are non negotiable and subject to cost, along with other contractual terms that could prove costly.

For many no win, no fee (or CFA) there are generally clause’s to state that the solicitor must be in agreeance with you about any decisions made, if you go against their advice then you may render the contract worthless and be charged fees to date which can be substantial.

There is so much to take into consideration when embarking upon the ET process, I hope that this article can maybe provide the answers for some that I remember searching so hard for in the beginning.

My motto, forewarned is forearmed, never can their be a truer statement when going thorough this process!

Lets Keep In-Touch!

If you would like to hear about my new blogs, keep up to date on the latest products and receive offers and discount notifications, please fill in your details below!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top