An introduction to employment tribunals


If you are not happy with the way you are treated at work, you should make your concerns known to your employer - preferably in writing. If you don’t think you can write to your employer, an employment solicitor can help you word your letter. Your employer has to respond to your complaint, as if they do not, you could then take them to an employment tribunal. Before considering an employment tribunal claim, you should keep in mind that for most types of disputes in employment law, Acas mediation or conciliation may be suitable.

To make a formal application to an employment law office you must first complete form ET1. You can get this form from the Tribunals Service website, or alternatively from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The employment law office that will handle your case will want to see that you have attempted to solve your dispute in all other ways. This can include liaising with your employer, or with though external agencies such as using a mediation service. The Tribunals Service has a public enquiry line you can use: 0845 795 9775.

Note that if you work in Northern Ireland you must contact the employment law office at the Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal services. You can find their offices at:

Killymeal House
2 Cromac Quay
Ormeau Road
Telephone: 02890 327 666

The employment law office you contact will look closely at the details of your case. They will relate this to the Code of Practice that Acas has developed that governs how your employer should handle your grievance. You can find more details about this Code in the leaflet 'Discipline and grievances at work: the Acas guide' that you can download from the Acas website. You will see on the website that for most areas of employment law, Acas has an employment law guide. It is a good idea to distribute this employment law guide to senior staff and team leader, as well as integrating its provisions into your workplace policies.

If the employment law office you have contacted decides that you have a case, this is where a solicitor with experience of employment law will be invaluable. If you have to appear before the tribunal, having a solicitor to support and represent you can give your case its best chance of success. Never attempt to handle an employment tribunal alone, as employment law can be highly complex in some areas.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about workers’ rights, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist employment law solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local employment law solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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