Guide To Employment Tribunals

When safeguarding employees’ rights and maintaining a fair and equitable working environment, employment tribunals are instrumental. By understanding the role of tribunals, individuals and businesses can proactively navigate employment disputes and foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and compliance with employment laws.

What are Employment Tribunals?

As specialised legal bodies in the United Kingdom, employment tribunals handle a wide range of workplace disputes. They offer an accessible and impartial forum for resolving employment-related conflicts.

Unlike regular courts, employment tribunals focus exclusively on issues arising from the employment relationship. They provide an alternative dispute resolution mechanism outside of the traditional judicial system, offering a more informal and efficient process.

Employment tribunals handle claims of unfair dismissal, wage disputes, redundancy, and discrimination, among many others. These tribunals are well-equipped to address both individual and collective disputes between employees and employers.

How Are Employment Tribunals Different From Regular Courts

Employment tribunals differ from regular courts in many ways:

  • Expertise: Employment tribunals specialise in employment law.
  • Accessibility: Employment tribunals offer a more accessible and user-friendly process compared to regular courts.
  • Informality: The tribunal process is generally less formal than a court proceeding, with fewer technicalities and legal formalities. This helps parties feel more at ease and creates a less intimidating environment.
  • Speed: Employment tribunals aim to resolve disputes efficiently. They usually provide quicker resolutions compared to regular courts, making them an attractive option for individuals seeking timely remedies.

Types of Cases Handled by Employment Tribunals

Employment tribunals handle a wide range of cases, including:

  1. Unfair dismissal claims – when an employee believes they were dismissed without a fair reason or proper procedure.
  2. Discrimination claims – when an employee alleges discrimination based on factors like age or race.
  3. Wage disputes – when an employer fails to pay an employee correctly or on time.
  4. Redundancy claims – when an employee believes they were made redundant unfairly or without proper consultation.
  5. Breaches of employment contracts – when an employer fails to fulfill their contractual obligations, such as providing benefits or adequate working conditions.

Each case brought before an employment tribunal is carefully evaluated based on the specific circumstances and relevant employment laws. The tribunal’s objective is to provide a fair and just resolution.

Role of Employment Tribunals

Employment tribunals ensure fair treatment for employers and employees. Delve into the crucial role of employment tribunal in resolving workplace disputes and upholding employment laws. 

The Mediators of Workplace Disputes

Employment tribunals act as neutral parties in resolving conflicts between employers and employees. When disputes arise in the workplace, these tribunals assess the evidence presented by both sides and make fair and unbiased decisions. By providing a platform for resolving conflicts, employment tribunals promote effective communication and help maintain productive working environments.

Adherence to Employment Laws

A primary role of employment tribunals is to ensure adherence to employment laws. These tribunals enforce legislation that safeguards employees’ rights and prevents unfair treatment or discrimination. By holding employers accountable, employment tribunals contribute to maintaining a fair and just employment landscape.

Comprehending Rights and Options

Understanding the role of employment tribunal is essential for individuals involved in workplace disputes. By comprehending their rights and options, employees can make informed decisions on pursuing a claim. Employment tribunals are avenues for employees seeking justice and recourse in cases of unfair treatment, discrimination, or contractual disputes.

The Impact of Employment Tribunals

Employment tribunals have a far-reaching impact on workplace dynamics. Their decisions not only resolve specific disputes but also establish precedents that shape employment practices. Through their role, these tribunals contribute to creating a fair and inclusive environment for all employees.

Benefits of Employment Tribunals Impact
Resolving disputes Facilitates fair and equitable solutions
Upholding employment laws Ensures adherence to legal obligations
Creating awareness Increases understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities
Setting precedents Influences future workplace practices

The table above summarises the key benefits and impact of employment tribunals in the workplace.

How Does the Tribunal System Work?

When you find yourself involved in an employment dispute that cannot be resolved internally, you file a claim. It’s crucial to ensure that you have exhausted all internal channels for resolving the dispute. This involves attempting to resolve the matter through your employer’s grievance procedure and engaging in any necessary mediation or negotiation processes. If unsuccessful, that’s when you take your case to an employment tribunal.

  1. Submitting your claim: This is how you initiate the tribunal process. Complete the necessary claim forms and submit them to the Employment Tribunal. You’ll disclose details about yourself, your employer, and the nature of the dispute.
  2. Preliminary hearing: Once your claim has been accepted, the tribunal will schedule a preliminary hearing. The hearing serves to establish the main issues, identify any preliminary matters that must be addressed, and determine the timeline and format for the full hearing.
  3. Exchange of documents: Prior to the full hearing, both parties are required to exchange relevant documents and evidence with one another. This allows each party to review the evidence that will be presented and make any necessary preparations.
  4. Full hearing: The full hearing is where your case will be heard in detail. Both parties present their evidence, call witnesses if necessary, and make their arguments. The tribunal panel, consisting of a judge and two lay members, will carefully consider the evidence presented before making a decision.
  5. Post-hearing: After the full hearing, the tribunal panel will analyse the evidence and reach a decision. The decision will be communicated to both parties in writing, outlining the tribunal’s findings, any compensation awarded, and any further actions required.

Familiarising yourself with the inner workings of the tribunal system can empower you to navigate the process effectively.

Reasons for Employment Tribunal Claims

Below are the common reasons why individuals file employment tribunal claims. Understanding these reasons is essential for employees to protect their rights and seek appropriate recourse when faced with workplace issues. By recognising the potential grounds for an employment tribunal claim, individuals can navigate the process more effectively and work towards a fair resolution.

Unfair Dismissal

One of the primary reasons individuals file employment tribunal claims is unfair dismissal. Unfair dismissal can occur due to various factors, such as redundancy, discrimination, or whistleblowing.


Discrimination is another significant reason for employment tribunal claims. Employees may assert claims for discrimination based on factors like disability or religion.


Victims of harassment can file employment tribunal claims to address instances of bullying, intimidation, or any form of unwanted behaviour that creates a hostile work environment.

Breach of Contract

Employees may file employment tribunal claims when there has been a breach of contract by their employer. This can encompass various violations, such as unpaid wages, unauthorised changes to terms and conditions, or denial of contractual entitlements. By pursuing a claim, individuals can seek compensation for the damages incurred.

Recognising these common reasons for employment tribunal claims empowers employees to address workplace issues effectively and ensure their fair treatment.

Benefits of HR Outsourcing

When it comes to avoiding employment tribunal disputes, HR outsourcing offers a range of benefits for businesses. By entrusting HR functions to external experts, companies can ensure compliance with employment laws, mitigate risks, and foster a healthier work environment.

1. Compliance with Employment Laws

Employment laws are complex and constantly evolving. Staying updated and compliant can be a daunting task for businesses, especially smaller ones with limited resources. An HR outsource service UK trusts provides access to experienced professionals who specialise in employment law and regulations. They can help businesses navigate the legal landscape, ensuring that policies and procedures align with current legislation.

2. Risk Mitigation

By outsourcing HR functions, businesses can minimise the risk of employment tribunal claims. HR experts can assist in drafting and implementing fair and consistent policies, conducting thorough employee investigations, and providing guidance on disciplinary actions. This proactive approach reduces the likelihood of disputes escalating to the point of tribunal involvement.

3. Expertise and Efficiency

Outsourcing HR functions allows businesses to tap into a wealth of expertise and experience. HR professionals are well-versed in managing various employment issues, from employee relations to performance management. They can provide guidance on best practices, offer training and development programs, and handle complex HR processes efficiently. This expertise saves time and resources, enabling organisations to focus on core business activities.

4. Cost Reduction

Employment tribunal cases can be financially draining for businesses. Legal fees, compensation payouts, and potential damage to reputation can have serious implications for the bottom line. By outsourcing HR, companies can reduce the likelihood of these costly disputes and associated expenses. It eliminates the need for in-house HR staff, resulting in potential cost savings on salaries, benefits, and training.

5. Confidentiality and Neutrality

Outsourcing HR functions ensures confidentiality and impartiality in handling employee concerns and disputes. Employees may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with an external HR provider, knowing that their confidentiality will be respected. Moreover, an external HR partner can approach matters objectively, promoting fairness and impartiality throughout the resolution process.

“HR outsourcing can be a strategic move for businesses seeking to minimise the risk of employment tribunal disputes while benefiting from expert guidance and cost savings.”

By harnessing the advantages of HR outsourcing, businesses can proactively address employment issues, reduce legal risks, and foster a positive workplace environment. Outsourcing HR functions empowers businesses to focus on growth and core operations while leaving the complexities of employment law and dispute resolution to trusted professionals.

Employment Tribunal Service and Law

In this section, explore the inner workings of the employment tribunal service and the laws that govern these tribunals. Understand the structure, processes, and legal framework of the employment tribunals.

The Employment Tribunal Service

The employment tribunal service provides an independent and impartial forum for both parties to present their cases and seek a fair resolution. Employment tribunals are composed of legally qualified members responsible for hearing and deciding cases. These members include employment judges, who have extensive knowledge and experience in employment law.

The service aims to provide accessible and efficient support to both employers and employees throughout the tribunal process.


Ensuring justice and upholding employment laws, employment tribunals provide a platform for resolving work disputes, from unfair dismissal to breach of contract. It’s where employees can assert their rights and hold employers accountable for any wrongdoing.

Outsourcing HR functions can help businesses ensure compliance with employment laws, mitigate risks, and create a healthier work environment. By entrusting HR responsibilities to external experts, businesses can focus on their core operations while fostering a positive and fair workplace.


What types of cases do employment tribunals handle?

Employment tribunals handle workplace disputes. Cases like unfair dismissal, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, redundancy, and claims related to wages and working hours.

How does an employment tribunal system work?

As to how does tribunal work, the employment tribunal system uses a step-by-step process. A claimant files a claim, followed by a response from the respondent. The evidence is reviewed. A hearing is held. The tribunal makes a decision, which can be appealed.

What are the benefits of HR outsourcing in relation to employment tribunals?

HR outsourcing can help businesses minimise the risk of employment tribunal disputes by ensuring compliance with employment laws, providing expert advice and guidance, and implementing effective workplace policies and procedures. It can also provide a neutral third party to handle disputes and promote a healthier work environment.

What is the employment tribunal service, and what laws govern it?

The employment tribunal service is the administrative body that supports employment tribunals in the UK. It provides guidance and assistance throughout the tribunal process. The laws that govern employment tribunals include the Employment Rights Act, the Equality Act, and various other employment-related legislation.

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