What happens at an Employment Tribunal Hearing?
Employment Tribunals can be protracted and stressful affairs due to their very nature – disputes having arisen between employers and employees. They are also expensive and costs incurred by both parties are for the most part, irrecoverable. It is therefore in the interest of both parties to try and reach a mutually beneficial or amicable resolution and avoid an Employment Tribunal.
If your case does find its way to an Employment Tribunal, it is important that you are fully up to speed with the process and order of events.
Who sits on an employment tribunal?
Each Tribunal normally comprises a Chairman (a Lawyer) and two other panel members – one representing the employee and the other their former employers. In certain circumstances the Tribunal may comprise merely a Chairman and one lay member.
What is a preliminary hearing?
A Preliminary Hearing may be arranged by the Tribunal Committee or either party prior to the case being heard, providing notice in writing is given to all parties. The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is to enable a Tribunal to determine where there are any issues relating to the entitlement of any party to bring or contest proceedings.
A Full Tribunal or Chairman sitting alone may also conduct a Pre-Hearing Review prior to the Full Hearing.
A Full Hearing at an Employment Tribunal will provide both parties with the opportunity to present their respective cases and question their own and the other party’s witnesses, in addition to those posed by the Tribunal Panel. It is in the interest of both the Claimant and the Respondent to attend the hearing as the Tribunal may make decisions in their absence after considering any written representations. The Tribunal is also likely to dismiss an application if the Claimant fails to attend without prior explanation or may adjourn the case if it a decision is deemed difficult in their absence.
How long is my hearing likely to take?
Most Tribunals hearings are concluded in one day although certain types of cases, such as those involving discrimination, may take longer. Decisions may be made by majority vote although they are almost always unanimous, announced together with the reasons straight after the hearing, followed in writing within three to six weeks.
Both parties are legally entitled to request a review of the decision and the right to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, information about which is sent with the Tribunal Decision.
Many claimants and respondents now opt to be represented at an Employment Tribunals, usually by a Trade Union official or a solicitor. Contact our team of specialists today for the most expert legal guidance about your Employment Tribunal Claim.
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