The first step in bringing an employment tribunal claim is to register the claim with ACAS Early Conciliation before the expiry of the deadline for the claim. A claim cannot be issued without having completed this process. ACAS contact the other side to try and reach an amicable solution via conciliation.
If the matter is not resolved via conciliation, then a claim needs to be issued to the employment tribunal within the prescribed time limit. This is done online at https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/employment-tribunal.
The claim form is then sent to the respondent (employer) and they are given 28 days to formally respond to the claim, setting out if they admit or deny the claim.
Once the tribunal has the documents they can then make case management orders to progress the case. These include exchanging all relevant documents, valuing the claim, preparing documents for use at the hearing and preparing witness statements. This is either done by the tribunal alone or at short hearing.
ACAS remain involved throughout the case to try and see if it is possible to reach a settlement (www.acas.org.uk). Many cases do settle after the claim has been issued but before a final hearing.
However, if the case doesn’t settle there will then be a final hearing to decide if you will win your case. This will be heard at the employment tribunal centre nearest to the respondent’s premises. The hearing can take anything from a day to multiple days depending on the complexity of the matter and number of witnesses. The tribunal will hear from all witnesses and question them as well as considering the paperwork before reaching decision.
If you are successful, the tribunal will then decide what compensation to award to you.
You can find out more about the key stages of an employment tribunal claim here.