Although some employers and employees decide to take an alternative dispute resolution route, many still engage in employment tribunals to settle cases. These tribunals, although sometimes considered more casual than traditional court cases, must be taken seriously. Good preparation is the key to defending yourself – both in the case of a tribunal and in preventing their happening in the first place.
There has been a significant decrease in the amount of employment tribunals since 2013 introduced fees for claimants. Nevertheless, an employment tribunal is a situation which neither an employer nor an employee wants to find themselves in.
There are many differences between an employment tribunal and a traditional court case. These cover both physical differences (for example, wigs and gowns are not worn and witnesses sit to give evidence) and differences in the way the case is decided (the tribunal is overseen by a judge and two ‘lay’ people).
Whether the case has come about due to misconduct either by the dismissed employee, or by the employer – these publicly handled cases can be unpleasant for all parties involved. Preparing yourself for what you can expect and researching exactly what is expected of you will help you to make a better impression. Be well prepared with contracts of employment, employee handbooks, HR policy statements and any other documentation or evidence which is relevant to the case.
Good levels of procedural training, management training and excellent record keeping are the most important factors in ensuring that your organisation can defend themselves should they be involved in an employment tribunal. Losing your case at tribunal will not only have financial repercussions but can also cast a negative light on the reputation of your organisation.
We have compiled some of the key features of employment tribunals into the easy to read infographic below.