It is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible. You could be penalised for failing to follow the correct procedure or for not meeting deadlines as well as being required to pay compensation if you miss the chance to properly defend your
Practical, business-focused advice
At Hutchinson Thomas we can advise and represent you in employment disputes and employment tribunal proceedings. Our advice is clear and pragmatic and we will focus on obtaining the best possible outcome for you and your business.
We will ensure that your responses and processes are compliant with employment legislation and that deadlines are met. We will also examine the case against you to ascertain whether it has merit and advise you on your chances of success.
There is usually a requirement that an attempt at conciliation is made, in line with the Acas early conciliation process. We will ensure that your case is properly presented and that any defence is made robustly.
We are experienced in handling all levels of dispute, including complex unfair dismissal, discrimination or redundancy claims, and we will defend your position vigorously.
The employment tribunal procedure
Once the employment tribunal sends you a copy of the claim against you, you have 28 days to send your response. It is important that this is filled out correctly and that the grounds on which you are responding are attached. The tribunal will consider both the claim and your reply in deciding what factors are in issue and what matters they need to rule on.
The tribunal will hold a preliminary hearing setting out directions to both parties, to include instructions about preparation, the issues to be considered and a timetable for the process.
You will also need to consider which witnesses can assist with your case and what information you may need to request from your employee and/or their legal team. An indexed bundle of all relevant documents should be prepared and filed with the tribunal prior to the hearing.
It may be possible to avoid an employment tribunal if you and your employee can agree on a settlement. This is usually preferable to an employment tribunal hearing, being quicker, more cost-effective and also confidential, meaning that your employee cannot disclose the details of the agreement or details of their employment or any disagreement to anyone after leaving.
As the employer, you would agree to pay a lump sum to the employee, who in return would drop all claims against you and sign a confidentiality clause.
You have the option to negotiate the settlement agreement to include whatever you feel is appropriate. For instance, if you could prohibit your employee from contacting your clients after they leave or from setting up in business nearby.
Being taken to an employment tribunal can be disruptive, but with good legal representation and advice, damage can be minimised. If you are involved with an employee dispute or have been threatened with legal proceedings, we can discuss your options with you and recommend the best way to proceed. Early intervention often allows a matter to be settled before the situation escalates.
Hutchinson Thomas is the first law firm in Wales to be awarded the Law Society Mark of Excellence. The firm and many of our lawyers are recognised year on year in the Legal 500 publication as leading individuals in their field.
We work with employers across all of their employment law requirements. If you would like to speak to one of our expert employment solicitors about employment tribunal actions or settlement agreements, ring us on 01792 439 000 (Swansea) or 01639 640 150 (Neath) or fill in our Contact Form.