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What is an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal is an independent body that resolves disputes between an employee and their employer.

You can make a claim against your employer at an employment tribunal if you think you’ve been treated unfairly or the company has broken the law.

The most common claims at an employment tribunal involve:

  • unfair dismissal, including constructive dismissal
  • unlawful discrimination, on the grounds of sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, or religion or belief
  • unpaid wages or deductions from pay
  • holiday pay
  • notice pay

Is it like going to court?

Attending an employment tribunal is similar to attending court, but it’s designed to be faster and more informal. No wigs or gowns are worn. The parties can be represented by solicitors, barristers, trade union representatives or non-legally-qualified consultants, or can represent themselves. Your case will be decided by a tribunal judge, unless it is a more complex matter, e.g. a discrimination claim. In such cases, a three-person tribunal panel made up of a judge and two lay members; one from a trade union and one from an employer background will hear your case.

Which? Legal can help

When faced with an employment tribunal you want to keep costs down while still getting expert advice. Unlike a high street solicitor, our employment experts aren’t on the clock. For a simple monthly fee, we can help you every step of the way. We can advise you on how to make a claim, prepare for the tribunal and guide you throughout the process to help you take control of the situation. Call Which? Legal before calling a high street solicitor for expert, step-by-step advice.

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Meet your experts
Duncan Snook Duncan joined Which? Legal as an employment law specialist in May 2018. He has over 10 years of experience as an employment solicitor in private practice. See profile
Brendan Donohue Brendan joined Which? Legal in 2018 and is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. Brendan has over 15 years of experience advising on all aspects of employment law. See profile