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Why do People make Employment Tribunal Claims?

By Practice Group Leader, Employment

Disputes with your employer can be tiring, stressful and time-consuming. So what gives people the motivation to put so much effort into bringing employment tribunal claims?

Employment tribunals are responsible for hearing employment disputes between individuals and companies. Some of the most common claims people bring in employment tribunals in the UK are claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination and unpaid wages.

In my experience, people who bring employment tribunal claims think carefully before doing so. It is not a decision to take lightly and most people don’t lodge claims on a speculative basis. Disputes can be emotionally draining and time-consuming, and pursuing a claim requires a significant level of commitment and effort.

Individuals making claims against their employers are rarely motivated only by the compensation they might be awarded by an employment tribunal. Often, people have been unfairly treated and pursue matters because they want to see justice done. Others pursue claims for reputational reasons; to clear their name, to ensure their services are properly acknowledged or to stop their employer from mistreating others.

At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, we have been successful in many Work Pay Disputes where justice has been brought to not only to the individual in question but to the workplace at large.

Employment tribunal claims are sometimes mistakenly viewed as frivolous. The Tory Party has argued that the introduction of fees has weeded out unsubstantiated (or “misconceived”) claims. However, since the introduction of fees to lodge tribunal claims the number of individuals winning their cases has not changed, which supports the view that claims with merit are also not pursued as a result of the new fees regime.

The fact an employer defends a tribunal claim does not make it weak. In my experience, the majority of claims are defended. Many employment tribunal claims are later withdrawn, normally because an out of court settlement has been achieved. For some, settlements outside of court can be just as valuable as a win in a tribunal because it allows an agreement to be reached, compensation to be agreed, and other non-financial terms a tribunal can’t order (like an agreed reference). This enables parties to move on without the need for further litigation.

Paula Chan is an Employment Associate Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

The expert Employment Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers provide expert legal advice on work disputes. If you or your family member has a work issue call Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you back.

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