There are very strict time limits in Employment Tribunal claims which often catch people out so they miss the opportunity to make a claim. In most claims, the start of the process must commence within 3 months (less one day) from the date your employment ended.
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For claims of discrimination or where you are owed salary, the 3 months start to run from the date of the act complained of.
The "starting process" is to notify ACAS and register for Early Conciliation. The time limit is automatically 'paused' during Early Conciliation. If the case is not settled, ACAS will bring Early Conciliation to an end and issue a certificate.
Once the certificate is issued, the time for issuing a Tribunal claim will start to run again. You will have at least one month from the date of the certificate to submit your claim. The exact date by which you have to submit your claim can be difficult to calculate.
If you haven't contacted ACAS within the 3 month time period, you will not be able to issue your claim. Although you can make an application to the Tribunal to present a claim out of time, there are very few exceptions where it will be granted.
If you have not been able to settle your claim during ACAS Early Conciliation, you will have to submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal. At the time you do this, you will need to pay an issue fee when your claim is filed in the employment tribunal (this is either £160 or £250 depending on the type of claim you are bringing).There is a further fee to pay for the actual hearing, assuming your case gets that far, although most cases settle well before this time.
There is a fee remission scheme in place which may reduce the amount you need to pay depending on your income and any savings.
A claim must be started on a specific form called an ET1, which should set out in full the factual allegations and legal complaints.
The Tribunal will review the ET1 and assuming the claim is accepted, it will then send the form to your employer. Your employer then has 28 days in which to submit its formal response to the claim, using a form called an "ET3". The ET3 will set out the employer’s defence to your claim.
Both parties will be given directions on how the case is to proceed, and deal with the time periods for your to exchange evidence, including witness statements, and also to agree a bundle of relevant papers to be used at the hearing.
You and your employer will be given written notice of the hearing, You will need to pay a fee of £950 of £230 (depending on the type of claim you have brought) before the hearing can go ahead. Again, there is a fee remission scheme in place which may reduce the amount you need to pay depending on your income and any savings.
At the hearing both parties will give their evidence. The Employment Tribunal will then decide whether or not your claim is successful, and if so, how much compensation to award you.
As specialist employment lawyers we will value your claim and losses and always give you an honest and considered assessment of your rights and likely chances of your success.
Contact us today by calling 08000 93 00 94 or fill out an online enquiry form for a free initial consultation so we can help before it is too late. Good cases can be lost before they even start through hesitation or delay.
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