Employment Tribunal Claims
At LincsLaw Solicitors we understand that most employees would prefer not to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal against their employer. In fact, most employees simply want to be treated fairly and have their employment rights respected. Very few people start work wanting to find themselves at the Employment Tribunal at some point in the future.
Unfortunately, if your relationship with your employer has gone sour and if all other avenues have failed; issuing your claim the Employment Tribunal may be the only way for you to clear your name, enforce your legal rights and obtain compensation for your employer's failure to treat you fairly.
Types of Employment Tribunal Claim
Most people know that claims for Unfair, Wrongful or Constructive Dismissal are pursued at the Employment Tribunal. However, what is less well known is that the Employment Tribunal will consider claims relating to the whole employment relationship from the first application to your employer all the way through to a resignation, redundancy or dismissal.
If you are considering bringing an Employment Tribunal claim against your employer, please contact us. Initial enquiries are free and you are under no obligation to instruct us to undertake any further work for you.
ACAS Early Conciliation Process
Before you can submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal, you must first lodge a form with ACAS to initiate their Early Conciliation Process. You will need to provide brief details about yourself and the background of your complaint against your employer. ACAS will then contact you about the process and seek your permission to contact your employer with a view to conciliating your matter.
Whilst lodging details of a potential Employment Tribunal claim with ACAS is compulsory, actually engaging in the process for you or your employer is voluntary. If either you or your employer notify ACAS that you do not want to conciliate, then ACAS will issue a certificate accordingly. The Employment Tribunal will not accept your claim unless you have have included your Early Conciliation Certificate Number on your claim form.
If you and your employer agree to engage with the conciliation process, then you will be allocated an ACAS Conciliator who will try and broker a conciliated agreement or settlement between you. There is an Early Conciliation Period of one month where this conciliation takes place. At the discretion of your ACAS Conciliator, this can be extended by a further two weeks. If at the end of the Early Conciliation Period (including any extension) it has not been possible to broker a conciliated agreement or settlement between you and your employer, you will be issued with an Early Conciliation Certificate Number. You can then decide whether you wish to pursue your claim before the Employment Tribunal.
If you and your employer do reach an agreement as part of the Early Conciliation Process, then your ACAS Conciliator will record the agreement on an ACAS Settlement Form (COT3). Both you and your employer will be required to sign the form. The ACAS Settlement Form is a legally binding and enforceable agreement between you and your employer and will usually bring your dispute to an end.
The ACAS Early Conciliation process is free; ACAS do not charge to use the process or for the assistance of your ACAS Conciliator. You can instruct LincsLaw Solicitors to undertake negotiations within this process for you, and we would be happy to do so. Alternatively, you can engage with your ACAS Conciliator yourself. If it is your intention to represent yourself in the ACAS Early Conciliation process then we would suggest that you take legal advice on your employment dispute and the value of any potential Employment Tribunal claim. This will enable you to negotiate from a position of strength and knowledge. LincsLaw Solicitors offer Fixed Fee Consultations which will provide you with a full written advice on your situation. For more information please go to our Employee Fees and Funding Page.
Employment Tribunal Time Limits
Time limits at the Employment Tribunal are extremely short and many employees with legitimate disputes have found themselves barred from bringing their claim because they were out of time.
As a general rule, you must submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal within three months of the act, omission or incident your claim is about. For claims about redundancy or dismissal, this is usually fairly easy to calculate as you use the last day of your employment as the first day when calculating the time limit. For example, if your last day of employment was 30th June, your claim would need to be submitted to the Employment Tribunal on or before 29th September.
It is sometimes more difficult to work out your time limit for cases where there has been discrimination or where the claim is about an employer's failure to act. In those circumstances, please contact us for a discussion about the time limit to bring a claim as we will need to know the full circumstances.
However, please note, these time limits can be extended if you are going through the ACAS Early Conciliation Process when your Employment Tribunal time limit would normally expire.
Claims submitted "out of time" will not be accepted by the Employment Tribunal and in those circumstances your ability to pursue your claim will be lost. It is therefore important that if you have a workplace concern or issue, you take legal advice as soon as possible. For a free, no obligation discussion, please contact Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors.