Employment Tribunal hearing
If you have made a claim to an Employment Tribunal then you may go on to have a hearing. Find out what happens at the hearing and after the judgement has been made, including information on your right to appeal a decision.
The Employment Tribunal will inform you of the date of your hearing. You don't have to appear in person. If you decide not to attend, you must tell the Employment Tribunal that you want the case to be heard in your absence.
When preparing for the hearing, make sure you have all the documents you plan to use. It usually helps to consider things in date order to provide a sequence of events. If you are going to use any documents, you need to give the other side notice at least seven days before the hearing.
At the hearing, you (or your representative) and your employer put your cases to the Employment Tribunal and answer questions. You can take witnesses to the hearing who can give evidence to support your case. If any witnesses you would like to be there refuse to go, you can ask the Tribunal to order their attendance.
You can represent yourself and the Employment Tribunal will try to make things clear for you. The procedures are quite informal.
There is no legal aid funding available in England and Wales and limited legal aid in Scotland. If you are a member of a trade union, your trade union may pay for a solicitor. Some household insurers pay reasonable legal costs, you should check your policy documents.
Unlike other courts, Employment Tribunals don't usually order either side to pay costs unless either:
- they decide you or your employer acted unreasonably in bringing the case
- any representatives at the hearing behave unreasonably
If you win
The Employment Tribunal can order your employer to pay compensation. The compensation is unlimited for discrimination or dismissal on health and safety grounds.
For unfair dismissal claims the award is made up of:
- the basic award, worked out based on your age and length of service
- a compensatory award, up to a set limit reviewed every year (although the maximum is rarely awarded)
The Employment Tribunal can make an additional award on top of the two awards above. This is awarded if it orders your employer to re-employ you but your employer does not.
Up to 25,000 can be awarded for wrongful dismissal or other breaches of contract.
If you have claimed Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Income Support (IS) since the event, recoupment may apply to your case.
Recoupment prevents double payment. It means your employer may deduct someor the entire amount you claimed in JSA or IS from the compensation awarded to you by an Employment Tribunal and repay it to Jobcentre Plus.
This rule applies when an Employment Tribunal makes an award of money for unfair dismissal and if applicable, foryour employer's failure to:
- make a payment in the case of compensation for redundancy
- pay your wages during a period of medical or maternity suspension
- pay a 'protective award' to you if you are made redundant, or about be made redundant
- consult workplace representatives in collective redundancy situations
Compensation is intended to replace lost earnings. There is no payment for hurt feelings, except in discrimination cases. You have to demonstrate to an Employment Tribunalthat you tried to reduce your loss, for example by getting another job or claiming benefit.
Employment Tribunals look at whether you and your employer followed the principles in the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures (the Code).
If you have not followed the Code, it does not automatically make you or your employer liable (legally responsible) before an Employment Tribunal. However, an Employment Tribunal can adjust your compensation award by up to 25 per cent if they consider that you or your employer behaved unreasonably.
Certain Employment Tribunal awards and other payments are subject to limits which are normally updated annually.
If you lose
You can ask the Employment Tribunal to review its judgment only on very limited grounds. A review is intended to either:
- correct a very specific error or mishap in the conduct of a Tribunal hearing
- deal with relevant new evidence that was genuinely not available at the time of the original hearing
You can consider asking the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) for an appeal on the basis that the Employment Tribunal made a mistake of law. The EAT will not consider your request if you think the Employment Tribunal made a 'wrong' decision. In the event of an appeal to the EAT, you have the right to legal aid.
Costs of up to 10,000 can be awarded in exceptional circumstances if an Employment Tribunal considersyouacted unreasonably in pursuing or conducting your case. These are called expenses in Scotland.
Tribunals in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland has its own separate dispute resolution procedures. You can find out more information on these from the nidirect website.
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