Does an Employment Tribunal cost money?

There are no tribunal fees to pay for beginning an Employment Tribunal claim. However, you may incur legal costs if you instruct a solicitor, depending on your individual circumstances. Further, if you are unsuccessful in your claim against your employer, there is a small chance you may have to pay their legal costs. This will be the decision of the Employment Tribunal. However, they will only order this in limited situations, such where you have acted unreasonably in the claim, or where you brought a claim which had no reasonable chances of success. If you are concerned about the costs of an Employment Tribunal claim, you should seek advice from a specialist employment law solicitor.

Does Truth Legal offer any free time?

Yes, one of our specialist employment lawyers will be happy to discuss with you, over the phone, your employment issue for up to 15 minutes. Simply visit our employment disputes page and request a call-back using the form. We will respond as soon as we can.

How can I fund my claim if I cannot afford legal fees?

Legal aid is not available for employment law matters.

However, we are happy to discuss with you other means of potentially funding your claim subject to the strength and value of the claim.

The legal costs of your claim may be covered by legal expenses insurance if you took this out as part of a household insurance policy. It is always advisable to check your policy or call your insurer if you are not sure. If you are insured, you can still choose your own solicitor.

If you do not have legal expenses insurance, we may be able to offer you a “no win, no fee” agreement.

Alternatively, we would be happy to discuss fixed fees arrangements and have also successfully secured crowdfunding for employment claims.

Do I need a solicitor for an Employment Tribunal?

No – you can choose to go through the whole Employment Tribunal process without legal representation if you wish. If so, you may like to browse our free legal library, which has many helpful example documents relating to Employment Tribunal claims. If you later decide you need more legal support, you can contact us to instruct us in your case, or arrange more involved legal advice. However, you should bear in mind that in legal proceedings, it is always better to ensure you get something right first time rather than trying to fix a mistake which has already been made.

Who pays the costs in an Employment Tribunal?

The usual rule is that each party is responsible for their own costs, whatever the outcome.

However, there are some circumstances in which an Employment Tribunal may order you to pay costs. These include situations in which you have acted unreasonably in the proceedings, you have not followed orders made by the Tribunal, or you brought a claim which had no reasonable chances of success. If you are worried about the possibility of paying costs, you should seek advice from a specialist employment law solicitor.

The same applies if you win your case – your employer is unlikely to be ordered to pay your legal costs unless they have acted unreasonably.

What constitutes unfair dismissal in the UK?

Generally speaking, an employee’s dismissal is unfair when it has been done for reasons which cannot be justified by their employer.

Some reasons can never be justified and are ‘automatically unfair’ and it doesn’t matter for how long you have been employed. These include dismissing an employee due to pregnancy or maternity leave, health and safety reasons, for union activities or for whistleblowing.

Ordinarily, however, you must have worked in your job for at least two years to be protected from unfair dismissal. The conditions for unfair dismissal can be complicated. Our detailed legal guide on unfair dismissal contains a lot more information on what does and does not constitute unfair dismissal.

How much compensation will I get for unfair dismissal in the UK?

If you are successful with your claim, your compensation will vary based on your circumstances. The two distinct awards which make up unfair dismissal compensation – the basic award and the compensatory award – are both calculated with reference to your situation.

The basic award takes into account your age, length of service and gross weekly pay (which, for dismissals after 5 April 2020 is limited to £538 per week) and is calculated the same way as a statutory redundancy payment.

The compensatory award is based on what would be just and reasonable in your case, taking into account your net loss of earnings and benefits and any earnings from new employment.

What is the maximum pay out for unfair dismissal?

Both the basic award and the compensatory award for unfair dismissal have a maximum limit. Currently (6th April 2020 – 5th April 2021), these limits are: £16,140 for the basic award and £88,519, or a year’s gross pay (whatever is the lowest) for the compensatory award.

However, if you have been unfairly dismissal on certain grounds, such as whistleblowing, there is no maximum limit to the compensatory award but it will still be based on your net loss of earnings. The aim is to compensate you rather than punish your employer.

Can you sue your employer for emotional distress?

Emotional distress might refer to all kinds of symptoms, from work-related anxiety and stress, to depression and other serious psychological conditions. You can only sue your employer for emotional distress if it takes the form of a recognised, and diagnosed, psychological condition. Your employer must also have failed, in some way, to meet their legal duties to protect your well-being. This type of claim would need to be brought in a court rather than an employment tribunal unless it was being brought as part of a claim for discrimination.

Which characteristics are protected from discrimination?

The law on discrimination covers the following characteristics: sex, marriage or civil partnership, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity, race, disability, age, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

What types of discrimination are there?

Discrimination law can be very complex and includes direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. For disability, there are also other types of discrimination such as a failure to make reasonable adjustments or unfavourable treatment.

I’m being discriminated against at work. What should I do?

If you feel like you are being discriminated against at work, you should try to discuss it with the person in question. This can be difficult, but it may be enough to stop the discriminatory behaviour – and resolve the problem in the most straightforward way possible. If the discrimination continues, you should record instances when it occurs, keep evidence if possible and raise a grievance. You should also seek legal advice about your situation. All of this can help you to prepare for bringing a discrimination claim through the Employment Tribunal, if you decide to do so.

I’m being bullied at work. Can I bring a claim?

Unless you are being bullied due to a characteristic protected by discrimination laws (such as sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy and age), you will not have a freestanding claim for bullying. However, your employer might have a procedure specifically to deal with bullying which you should follow. If not, you should raise a grievance.

If you resign as a result of your treatment, you may have a claim for constructive unfair dismissal depending on the circumstances. You should seek advice from a specialist employment solicitor if you are in this situation.

What is the Employment Tribunal process?

The Employment Tribunal deals exclusively with employment law matters and is separate from the main civil and criminal court systems. It has its own procedures and paperwork. In our podcast on the Employment Tribunal process, barrister Kevin McNerney explains these procedures and how employment disputes are resolved by the Tribunal.

How long does the Employment Tribunal process take?

It can be difficult to predict the overall time an Employment Tribunal claim will take. The ACAS Early Conciliation process, required at the start of all prospective Tribunal claims, takes one month, but can be extended by up to 14 days. After this, the Employment Tribunal process can begin and your employer will have a period of 28 days to respond to your claim. Beyond that, timing will depend on many things, such as agreed timetables, the complexity of your case and the number of other claims the tribunal is dealing with.

What are the most common employment law issues?

Employment disputes between individuals and businesses can take many forms. At Truth Legal, we find the most common issues centre around:

What makes a good employment lawyer?

Good employment lawyers are specialists in their field, with a great deal of experience in handling employment law matters. Crucially, however, a good employment lawyer should be able to give your case the attention it deserves. At Truth Legal, we have expert employment solicitors who recognise the importance of first-class legal service.

How do I choose a good employment lawyer?

You should always make your own choice when it comes to instructing employment solicitors. Firstly, you should only consider firms who specialise in employment law. Other types of lawyer won’t have the required knowledge and experience to do the best job possible in your case. Then you should consider the reputation of the firm and individual solicitors, as well as any client reviews, and accreditations they may have. If your case has been allocated to a firm of solicitors, perhaps by your union or insurance company, you may want to switch solicitors to a firm you believe to be more suitable for you.

Can I change employment solicitors halfway through a case?

You are always entitled to choose the solicitors who represent you in your case, even if it is currently ongoing. If you do not feel like you are receiving the right levels of service or employment law expertise from your current solicitors, you should consider switching your case to a better firm.

How long do you have to bring an Employment Tribunal claim?

Three months is the standard time limit to begin an Employment Tribunal claim. This time limit starts running from the date of the act which you are disputing, so for an unfair dismissal claim, it would be the date on which your employment ended; for a discrimination claim, it would be the date the discrimination occurred. You must notify ACAS of your intention to claim, within the 3-month time limit, to be allowed to make your claim. The time spent in ACAS Early Conciliation will be added to the time limit. The time limits are strictly applied. Speak to one of our specialist employment solicitors if you would like advice on your circumstances.

How do I make an employment claim?

The first step to making any employment claim should be to obtain legal advice from a specialist employment law solicitor. Making a claim without good grounds to do so might mean being ordered to pay the legal costs of the party you are claiming from. Even if you have a strong case, your claim may be unsuccessful if it is not handled correctly.

Do you offer business employment advice?

Yes, Truth Legal provides specialist employment law support for businesses as well as individuals. We can advise your organisation on a range of matters, including contracts of employment, disciplinary procedures, redundancy situations, and settlement agreements.

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