I regularly present cases at tribunals and have on occasions been a witness. I have not found any bias against me and have not lost any cases that I have presented – including unfair dismissal and discrimination cases.
I ensure that my role as the employer’s representative is separate from any evidence I need to give as a witness.
I find that close knowledge of the cases that I present – together with my knowledge of the witnesses and claimant – can actually make it easier than relying on a legal representative presenting a case.
Legally trained representatives rarely know the full story and therefore ‘try it on’ as if they were in court – a tactic that is easily rebutted if you know the case warts and all.
I agree that it is our responsibility as HR professionals to create employment practices that keep us out of tribunals, but that doesn’t always prevent employment tribunals.
It is then our responsibility to ensure that our employer is represented in the most effective way.
Director of collegiate services, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College