An Employment Tribunal claim has just been put on your desk.
You have 28 days (or less) in which to prepare a response and file it with the Employment Tribunal, what should you do?
Do not delay. Seek Advice
Initially 28 days can seem quite a long time. 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 and often before you have to file your response to the claim.
The benefit of doing this for your business can often mean that it helps avoid unnecessary legal costs as well as keeping the claim out of the public domain and often away from other employees. If an early settlement can be achieved this can be done on a confidential basis and with minimal cost to the company save for any settlement payment you may have to pay to your former employee. In some cases it is possible to reach an agreement whereby the employee withdraws their claim without the company having to pay any damages.
The response to an Employment Tribunal claim and what you put in it can play a fundamental part of the employment case proceeds to a final hearing. The Judge who hears the case will always read the claim form submitted by the employee (Claimant) and the response submitted by you as the Respondent in the case. It is therefore important to make sure all the information is accurate and that it reflects what is in any documentary or other evidence. Instructing an employment solicitor to prepare your response will help ensure that you collect all the necessary evidence early and that you include what needs to be included in the response. The response can also act as an important tool to try and reach a settlement with the Claimant.
In some cases, settlement is not possible. 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. However, if you instruct our Employment Law Team you can be assured that we will strenuously defend all claims and where possible (and appropriate to do so) seek to recover costs from the Claimant - something we have successfully done in the past.
Please be aware that cases where costs can be recovered from a Claimant are limited and this does not apply to every claim made against a company or employer.
We can assist with all types of claim including:
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.