An Employment Tribunal claim has just been put on your desk and you have 28 days in which to prepare a response and file it with the Employment Tribunal, what should you do?
Do not delay.
Initially 28 days can seem quite a long time but this time soon flies by and it is important to act quickly and seek legal advice without delay. It is surprising how many claims can be resolved or settled by involving solicitors and ACAS early to aid in resolution or settlement of an Employment Tribunal claim. The benefit of doing this for your business can often mean that it helps avoid costs if a claim can be resolved early.
By instructing a solicitor it also means that all the relevant information can be collated early and that you have as much time as possible to get evidence from those employees or managers that were involved. There is nothing worse that leaving a response until the last minute only to realise the disciplining officer is on annual leave.
In some cases however, settlement is not possible and no matter what you have done or how fair you have been in dismissing an employee some former employees want a day in court. This can unfortunately be costly for you but if you instruct our business employment law team you can be assured that we will strenuously defend all claims and where possible (and appropriate to do so) try and seek costs from the Claimant. You should however note that the cases where costs can be recovered are limited to cases where the Claimant has acted unreasonably, vexatiously or where the Claimant's claim was misconceived.
Our employment solicitors are experienced in employment tribunal advocacy and depending on your preference, can either conduct the final hearing themselves or instruct a specialist employment barrister.