The starting point
For all issues, except that of dismissal, an employee must officially raise an internal grievance with their employer before taking it to an employment tribunal. This allows the employer and employee an opportunity to resolve the dispute without a formal claim being submitted to a tribunal. However, if it is not resolved within 28 days, the employee may submit a claim.
If this process is not undertaken, an employment tribunal may reject the case before it reaches the hearing.
An employee usually has three months from the time of the incident to submit an internal grievance. Once they have done this, they then have another three months to bring the case to tribunal. If this three-month timeframe has lapsed, it is not always possible for the employee to approach a tribunal subsequently, depending on the type of claim.
How to respond
If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal grievance and wishes to submit a claim, this can be done by completing an ET1 form. This can be downloaded from the employment tribunal website . At this stage, the employer should check the details to ensure they are correct. If the employee has been dismissed and is submitting the form externally, HR staff must ensure that the form is registered with them.
In preparation for the tribunal, the employer needs to fill out a 'Notice of Appearance' (ET3) form. This should include a brief summary of facts as viewed by the employer regarding the allegations and the employee's work history. It is not necessary for the employer to counter every single incident, but it should act as a general statement regarding the employee's claim and the employer's position.
It is crucial the employer makes clear in the ET3 form that they do not accept any of the facts presented by the employee, apart from basic information, such as length of employment. In short, they need to make it clear that the claim is rejected.
If the employee has been dismissed, the employer must state the reason for the dismissal in the form. The legitimate reasons for dismissal are set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Compiling the evidence
Once the employer has completed the ET3 form and submitted it to the tribunal, conciliation service Acas will be sent a copy of the proceedings so that it can assist with any po