Top Tips for dealing with the Employment Tribunal
Each Tribunal around the country is different and so it is difficult to say how the administration of your case will be dealt with. There are however some tips for dealing with the Employment Tribunal which will assist you with the smooth running of your case.
1) Limit the correspondence that you send to the Tribunal
Avoid copying in the Employment Tribunal to correspondence unless it is crucial to your case or case management. Any evidence that you want to bring to the Tribunal’s attention should be included in final bundle of evidence for the Hearing.
Try to limit correspondence with the Employment Tribunal to times when you have been ordered to do so or if you are making an application to the Tribunal, for instance in respect of asking for a postponement or to order something.
2) Allow time to receive a response
The time scale for responding varies around the country and depends upon how busy the particular Tribunal is. Currently they state that they aim to respond or deal with correspondence within 10 working days.
Unless it is extremely urgent or needs to be dealt with before hand it is recommended that you wait two weeks before contacting the Tribunal, unless you think that your correspondence did not reach them for any reason, in which case you can always telephone to confirm receipt. .
3) Provide realistic time estimates
The Employment Tribunal will decide, based on the type of claim that you have, how many days your final Hearing will take. Often when making the decision the Employment Tribunal will only have the details of your claim in your ET1 claim form and therefore their understanding of the issues and evidence may be limited. Therefore to avoid having to make an application to the Tribunal to change the date and number of days for your Hearing be realistic in the time it is likely to take.
If there are particularly complicated issues that require a lot of evidence and a number of witnesses for you and the Employer you will need more than one day for the Hearing, and so it is advisable to inform the Employment Tribunal of this from the outset.
4) Avoid asking for last minute postponements
There is nothing worse than having to make a rushed application to the Employment Tribunal because your witnesses are not available on your Hearing date, or because you have not been able to prepare a document which has been ordered.
These last minute applications also increase the workload of the Employment Tribunal which means that it then takes longer to get a response.
As far as possible you should plan in advance for your claim, and if you are representing yourself you should be realistic about the amount of time things will take you. Don’t forget to factor in the time you will need to look for a new job.
5) Wherever possible try to reach agreement with the Employer or their representative about preparation of your case.
As set out above, you do not need to copy the Employment Tribunal into all of your correspondence, and unless they specifically order you to do so you do not need to send the Employment Tribunal documents or evidence for the final Hearing, until the day of the final Hearing.
What this means is that whilst you should endeavour to meet the deadlines set out by the Tribunal in any preparation order, you are able to agree an amendment to this timetable with the Employer or their representative. If an agreement can be reached it means that there is no need for you to apply to the Employment Tribunal.
For example, you have to exchange your list of documents with the Employer on the 1st April, but you are going to be on holiday from the 25th March – 2nd April. There is no need to go straight to the Employment Tribunal, it is recommended that you ask the Employer (or their representative) in writing to agree an extension until say the 3rd April. If the Employer refuses then you should make an application to the Employment Tribunal, and enclose a copy of your correspondence with the Employer within which you have asked for their agreement.
If you find yourself in this situation, as with 4 above, you should plan ahead and ensure that you deal with the issue as soon as you become aware of it.