When can you make an employment tribunal claim? What are my rights?

You have the right to make a claim when you feel you have been treated unfairly, unfavourably or unlawfully by your employer. This usually includes unfair dismissal and discrimination. If you feel you have been discriminated against, it does not matter how long you have worked for your employer. However, if you feel the dismissal was unfair for other reasons, there are certain legal tests that will apply. Typically, you will need to have worked for your employer for a minimum of two years before you can claim unfair dismissal unless you can prove the dismissal was ‘automatically unfair’.

When is a dismissal automatically unfair?

For a dismissal to be deemed automatically unfair, where it will not matter how long you have worked for your employer before being able to make a claim, there are certain reasons that come under this rule such as:

  • Being dismissed because you are pregnant or on maternity leave.
  • If you were dismissed due to raising concerns or taking action over a health and safety issue at work.
  • Being dismissed for ‘whistleblowing’.
  • If you were dismissed for trying to assert one of your statutory employment rights.
  • Transfer of undertakings – if you have been dismissed because the business you work for is taken over by a new owner.

Is there a time limit to making a claim?

For most employment law claims, there is a strict time limit, which is 3 months less 1 day after the date of your dismissal or the date when your notice period ran out. However, there are other tribunal claims, (such as disputes over fair pay or redundancy pay) where the time limits are longer. Various factors apply so before taking any action, it is advisable to seek appropriate legal advice so that you can discuss your legal rights and the options open to you.

Should I make a claim to an employment tribunal?

Before you make a claim, you must tell the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal. This may give you an opportunity to settle your dispute without having to go to court. If this part of the process does not provide the resolution you are seeking, then you should then proceed to make a claim to the employment tribunal.

What happens during the tribunal?

An employment tribunal is an independent judicial body that resolves disputes between employers and employees over employment rights. They hear matters such as(but not limited to) unfair dismissal, discrimination and redundancies etc. The tribunal will make a decision based on the evidence presented if the employee should win an award, or if the claim failed.

It is up to the tribunal to:

  • weigh up the evidence
  • consider the law
  • decide whether your claim against your employer is justified.

In doing this the tribunal may also consider:

  • what policies or procedures your employer has for dealing with the problems at work;
  • your behaviour and your employer’s behaviour throughout the time you were employed; and
  • what steps you and your employer have already taken to solve this problem.

What to consider and how to prepare for an employment tribunal as an employee.

Facing an employment tribunal can be overwhelming as there is a considerable amount of preparation needed before the hearing. It is important to seek legal representation so that the correct procedures and Court directions are followed leading up to the tribunal hearing so that the matter is not struck out or dismissed.

Do I need to provide evidence and what type of evidence is needed for an employment tribunal claim?

In order to ensure yourself the best possible chance of winning your claim at the employment tribunal hearing, you should collate all the evidence you have to support your claim.

A substantial part of your evidence would be your witnesses and your own witness statement and giving evidence in person at the hearing. Your legal representation would help you prepare your statement, and they would guide you to make sure your statement accurately substantiates your claim. In addition to this, emails, records of events and in some instances medical records can also support your claim.

What are the outcomes of an employment tribunal?

The outcomes one can achieve from an employment tribunal if you are successful are:

  • the reinstatement of your position, which after an employment tribunal matter is unlikely to be appropriate;


  • ordering the employer to pay you compensation for the loss of earnings, which is calculated according to age, occupation, and other varying factors.


  • you may also not be successful in your claim.

Can I still settle the claim after it has progressed to the employment tribunal?

An employee or employer can put forward a settlement offer at any point during the process prior to the day of the final hearing and the judge giving their ruling. It is up to either party if they are in agreement with the offer. Disputes can be solved by negotiating with one another,  via ACAS, via their legal representation, or in some cases using a judicial mediation process. Parties can negotiate a resolution at any time on their own, up to and including the date of the hearing.

What can I do if I lost my employment tribunal claim?

You can appeal the decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal if you lose your case, but only if there are reasonable grounds to appeal.  There is usually a deadline for appealing, which is 42 days of the date that either:

  • The decision was sent to you
  • The reasons were sent to you (but only if the Employment Tribunal did not provide the reasons of the hearing or you asked for the reasons within 14 days of the decision being sent to you)

Appeals will need to be made to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) if you think a legal mistake was made in your case. For example, appeals can be made if you believe the Tribunal:

  • got the law wrong
  • did not apply the correct law
  • did not follow the correct procedures and this affected the decision
  • had no evidence to support its decision
  • was unfairly biased towards the other party

Specialist Employment Solicitors in Catford & The City of London

If you are facing an employment tribunal, or are seeking legal advice on whether to make a claim yourself, please contact our team of expert employment solicitors based in Catford and the City of London for comprehensive legal advice. Please email reception@parkerarrenbergco.uk or call 0203 911 2084 today.