Employment tribunals have jurisdiction to hear complaints under the employment provisions of Part 5 of the Equality Act 2010, as well as complaints of aiding, instructing, causing or inducing contraventions of Part 5. Cases can be transferred between employment tribunals and county courts (or, in Scotland, a sheriff’s court) if separate cases have been brought in each based on the same conduct and one of the claims relates to instructing, causing or inducing a person to discriminate against, harass or victimise another person.
Role of the Courts and Employment Tribunal in employment issues?
The role of the Courts and Employment Tribunal is to deal with a case fairly and justly includes, so far as practicable ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing; dealing with cases in ways which are proportionate to the complexity and importance of the issues; avoiding unnecessary formality and seeking flexibility in the proceedings; avoiding delay, so far as compatible with proper consideration of the issues; and saving expense.
The Tribunals and Courts seek to give effect to the overriding objective in interpreting, or exercising any power given to it by, the Employment Rules. Wherever practicable and appropriate the Tribunals encourage the use by the parties of the services of ACAS, judicial or other mediation, or other means of resolving their disputes by agreement.
What can the employment tribunal order?
If the parties fail to reach an agreement, then the remedies available to an employment tribunal for a breach of the Equality Act 2010 are:
- A declaration on the rights of the parties;
- An appropriate recommendation (for the respondent to take specified action within a specified time limit); and
- A order for compensation including damages for injury to feelings. The amount of compensation to be awarded is generally that which would put the claimant in the position as though the unlawful act had not taken place. The Equality Act 2010 also enables regulations to be made providing for interest to be included on amounts awarded by employment tribunals.
It also ensures that the parties have right to appeal to challenge any error of law or fact finding on behalf of the Tribunal.
How cases are settled before and during formal legal procedures?
If an employee has a problem (‘grievance’) at work, it’s usually a good idea for them to raise it informally first. The employer should respond even if the problem’s raised informally. A grievance procedure is a formal way for an employee to raise a problem or complaint to their employer.
The employer should investigate the grievance so that they can make a fair decision about the grievance. When an employee raises a formal grievance, the employer should arrange to hold a meeting within 5 working days ideally. Employers should keep a confidential record of the meeting, evidence they’ve gathered, and any decisions or actions taken.
After following a fair grievance procedure, the employer should decide on the best outcome based on the findings from meetings and investigations, what is fair and reasonable and that their workplace has done in any similar cases before. The employer should tell the employee of the outcome as soon as possible and in writing. The employer should offer the employee the right of appeal.
If the employee feels they’ve tried everything and their problem is still not resolved, they could in some cases make a claim to an employment tribunal.
Employment tribunals are legally required to take the Acas Code of Practice into account when considering relevant cases. Tribunals are also be able to adjust any compensatory awards made in these cases by up to 25 per cent for unreasonable failure to comply with any provision of the Code.
When can you submit a claim to an employment tribunal?
A claim to an employment tribunal must usually be made within 3 months less 1 day. This is known as the ‘limitation date’. If it’s a claim about redundancy pay or equal pay, the claim must be made within 6 months.
Before making a claim to the Employment tribunal the employee must tell Acas first who will offer the option of ‘early conciliation’. This free service can help the parties resolve the issue before you need to make a claim.
If settlement is reached at this stage through Acas then they will write up what parties agree in a ‘settlement form’. If early conciliation ends without an agreement, then the claimant will have a minimum of 1 calendar month from the date of receipt of the Acas certificate to make a claim to the employment tribunal.
What happens when claim is filed with the tribunal:
Once claim form has been sent to and accepted by the tribunal, the tribunal will send a copy of the claim form to employer (known in the employment tribunal proceedings as ‘the respondent’) and any other persons included in the claim (also known as respondents). The respondent then has 28 days to submit a response.
Once the tribunal receives the response from the respondent, a judge will carry out an initial consideration of the documents to confirm whether there are arguable complaints and defences, which are appropriate for the tribunal to consider.
The court may allocate a preliminary hearing for the purposes of managing the case or issue the case management directions set by the tribunal which will form timetable for preparing the case and will determine when documents and witness statements are to be exchanged and by what date any expert evidence is required.
If the matter proceeds to a final hearing, the parties will need to prepare documentation and witness statements setting out their claim and defence. The case is likely to be heard by an employment judge sitting alone or by a panel of three members, who will consider the legal and factual basis for the claim.
The parties will be required to attend the hearing in order to give evidence.
At the end of the hearing the judge may give its decision or may send a written copy of its judgment and reasons to the parties or their representatives in the post at a later date. The parties will have a right to appeal against the decision.
Our specialist employment solicitors have the experience to help you manage employment problems by working in the background, as well as by providing full legal representation where required. We help you resolve your disputes through alternative dispute resolution procedures to save costs and avoid stress associated with the court proceedings however we recommend court proceedings where necessary to achieve a best outcome for you.
Why Choose Aaryan Solicitors?
Expert Employment Law team: Aaryan Solicitors has a team of expert employment law solicitors who can provide you legal advice and assistance with your employment matter. Contact us for case assessment, eligibility requirements and supporting documents.
Competitive Prices: We offer a competitive price service without compromising on our service. Our reputation outshines other, larger employment law firms in London and across the country.
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To deal with your employment matter, get in touch with Aaryan Solicitors for professional, no-obligation advice.