Our employment lawyers have an outstanding reputation for successfully handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employees (Claimants) and employers (Respondents), from unfair dismissal claims to complex discrimination and whistleblowing matters. This page gives information for employees however we also have a page for employers here.
- What kind of cases can go to an Employment Tribunal?
- When should I get advice?
- How do I know if I have a good case?
- What kind of compensation could I get?
- When do I have to start my Employment Tribunal claim?
- How long do I have to be employed before I can make an Employment Tribunal claim?
- Do I have to go through ACAS Early Conciliation first?
- Do I need a lawyer to represent me at an Employment Tribunal?
- Why use BTO?
- What are the legal costs?
- What about claiming on legal expense insurance that comes with household or car insurance?
- How do I take the first steps?
What kind of cases can go to an Employment Tribunal?
If you are an employee and think you have been unfairly dismissed or discriminated against at work and wish to bring an Employment Tribunal claim we can help you. Our clients come from all walks of life, jobs and professions. Whether you are a senior executive, manager, agency worker or employee, our team has a wealth of experience acting for clients like you with employment problems that include:
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal (an employee resigns because they feel that their employer has breached the contract of employment )
- Discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief; sex or sexual orientation
- Redundancy: Failure to consult an employee prior to making him or her redundant, unfair redundancy, redundancy pay disputes, TUPE
- Detrimental treatment due to the employee’s whistleblowing or other protected acts
- Holiday pay claims
- Wage disputes
When should I get advice?
We can advise you from the outset of your case and early advice should be sought. This can include advice on disciplinary hearings, grievances and redundancy meetings and the earlier stages of a dispute.
Many employment disputes can be resolved as a result of the company’s grievance procedures, Early Conciliation via ACAS (see below) or via direct negotiations. We can advise you “behind the scenes” so that your employer does not know that we are advising you. Even cases of unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal, where the employee has already left the employment and has a cause to make a claim at an Employment Tribunal, can also often be swiftly dealt with via ACAS conciliation or via negotiations. A strong and clear legal argument not only gives your claim the best possible chance of succeeding at a Tribunal but can also encourage an early settlement on the most favourable terms, as quickly as possible. This route can obviously save on legal costs and eliminate the possible stress and anxiety of taking a case to an Employment Tribunal. We can talk you through the tactics to achieve the best outcome.
If an Employment Tribunal claim is made, many cases can still “resolve” via negotiations. If the employer is unwilling to settle or suitable terms cannot be agreed, then we can go on to represent you at the Employment Tribunal.
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How do I know if I have a good case?
When you first come in to meet us, one of our employment lawyers will carefully assess your case and the likelihood of its success and also advise you about your likely legal costs and tribunal fees. This will allow us to have an open discussion with you about the issues involved and provide an honest appraisal of the merits of your case at an early stage. It may be however that we would require additional information and/or to spend time examining documents (not included in any initial meeting fixed fee package). We will discuss the options available to you and make sure you understand the issues clearly and any risks involved. If we do not think your claim has a good chance of being successful, we will discuss other more cost-effective solutions with you and assist in trying to resolve matters by way of settlement if that can be achieved.
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What kind of compensation could I get?
Unfair dismissal settlement awards have a maximum cap that is reviewed on an annual basis. Dismissals for whistleblowing or related to certain health and safety reasons are uncapped, as are dismissals relating to unlawful discrimination, and awards for these type of claims can be substantial (if substantial losses have been incurred).
When do I have to start my Employment Tribunal claim?
There are strict time limits for lodging Employment Tribunal claims. Early advice is required to ensure you are aware of the time limits for your particular claims to be lodged and taking account of the ACAS Early Conciliation process which is a pre-requisite for taking claims to the Employment Tribunal. You should take advice as soon as possible.
How long do I have to be employed before I can make an Employment Tribunal claim?
In order to qualify to make a claim for “normal” unfair or constructive dismissal the employee will generally have to have at least two years’ service. There is no minimum service requirement for other claims arising from the employment contract such as wages, discrimination claims, claims for whistleblowing or related to certain health and safety reasons and many others. Early advice is required as certain claims can be brought during employment – i.e. you do not have to have left your employment to be able to bring certain claims to the Employment Tribunal.
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Do I have to use ACAS Early Conciliation first?
If you cannot sort things out directly with your employer, you must notify ACAS of your intention to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim in most cases, and ACAS will offer you the opportunity to use Early Conciliation. The aim of this ACAS service is to ascertain if an agreement can be reached between both parties so that an Employment Tribunal can be avoided. We can help you with this.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me at an Employment Tribunal?
Employment law is complex and technical, nowhere more so than in an Employment Tribunal and many people opt to appoint a lawyer to represent them professionally especially in high-value and complicated cases. You do not have to be legally represented but it is recommended as your employer will almost certainly instruct a lawyer.
Having an experienced employment solicitor present your Tribunal case in the most legally advantageous way can help minimise the stress and anxiety of bringing a claim
Our team of employment lawyers are highly experienced in their field and include two accredited employment law specialists. Everyone we represent, from the highest ranking senior executives and partners to junior employees, receives the best legal representation and the highest level of customer care at all times.
We have a track record of success for our clients at Employment Tribunal hearings.
We provide a personal, thorough and cost-effective service. Unlike some law firms our focus is on the quality of advice and outcome rather than volume of clients. This allows us to give your case the attention it deserves.
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What are the legal costs?
An appointment with one of our lawyers will help you understand the issues clearly and provide you with an honest appraisal of the merits of your case at an early stage. You can take advantage of our Initial Consultation Fixed Fee Package for Employees which provides up to 60 minutes meeting with one of our qualified lawyers for £295 including VAT.
We do not offer a Legal Aid option or offer a free meeting and we do not do work on a “no win no fee basis”.
If you decide that you would like to instruct us after the initial meeting, then like most law firms we would bill the time we work on your case at an agreed hourly rate. We always aim to keep costs as manageable as possible. The rate will depend upon the experience and seniority of your lawyer and will be agreed with you beforehand. We will always provide you with an estimate of your total costs at the beginning of the case and update you should the position change. Time is carefully recorded by our lawyers to ensure that you only pay for the time spent on your case. We can agree a fee budget with you.
What about claiming on legal expense insurance that comes with household or car insurance?
Yes we can act for employees who have the benefit of legal expense insurance. If you have a general household or motor insurance policy this may already include legal expense insurance for employment matters. All policies vary, but generally this type of insurance will cover your legal fees incurred in bringing a claim or claims to an Employment Tribunal. You can check your policy document direct or failing that, telephone your insurer and ask if you have legal expense insurance cover for employment law claims.
In most cases your insurer will let you use the solicitor of your choice – you are entitled to insist on this. Your insurer may give you an application form to fill in before giving your claim the go ahead and from this they will assess whether your claim or claims have prospects of succeeding in an Employment Tribunal or Court. If it does not, then no cover will be provided, therefore it is absolutely critical that you set out the claim or claims as clearly and comprehensively as possible so that it is not turned down by your insurer.
It is often worthwhile obtaining legal advice from an employment law solicitor before filling out the insurers’ application form. You will then be aware of all the claims you may have, and give yourself the best chance of satisfying your insurer that your claim(s) have the prospect of success.
If you have such a policy, please inform your employment lawyer at your initial meeting so that this option can be discussed, ideally before you make your application to your insurer.
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How do I take the first steps?
We cover all aspects of law including corporate, commercial, personal matters and litigation. For all your legal needs, we’ve got them covered. For more information please visit www.bto.co.uk