Even if you have ensured you have all the correct procedures in place to deal with employee grievances, difficult situations can still arise. If nothing can be done to resolve the issues between you and the employee, they can make a claim against you. This guide will help you prepare for the tribunal and talk you through the process
Once an employment tribunal accepts a claim against you, it will send you a copy of the ET1 claim form, as well as an ET3 response form. You have 28 days from the date this was sent to let the tribunal office know whether you plan to resist or defend the claim - unless you apply for an extension, if you don't respond, you'll lose your right to your defence. Once the tribunal has received your claim, it will send you a date for your hearing.
Once you have received a claim, seek professional advice immediately. Your solicitors will agree with the other side which documents they will use during the hearing and make copies, called the 'agreed bundle'. Next, you need to let the tribunal know how many witnesses you plan to call and take written witness statements from them. If one is unwilling to attend the hearing, you can ask the tribunal to make a witness order compelling them to attend.
While in some cases there may be a case management discussion or a pre-hearing review where both sides explain their cases, most go straight to the main hearing. The claimant and defence and their witnesses usually give evidence, and can be asked questions by the other side, the lay members and the chairperson. Once the tribunal has come to a decision, it will inform both parties either at the hearing or in writing afterwards.
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