An Employer’s Guide to responding to an Employment Tribunal Claim

1. It is very important that the Claim is dealt with promptly. As soon as the Tribunal Claim form (called form ET1) is received, it should be brought to the attention of the person who will be dealing with it. Every employer should have in place a system to identify who this should be, usually a member of the HR Department or a senior manager.

2. Take part in conciliation. Every Claimant must contact Acas early conciliation service before they submit their Claim. Although either party can then choose not to take part in conciliation, this is a chance to resolve the matter before entering into formal proceedings. If nothing else, the Employer will receive details of the Claim and have an opportunity to assess its merits.

3. Carefully assess the merits of the claim. It is a good idea to take legal advice before responding to the Claim. An Employment Law Solicitor will be able to advise on the strengths and weaknesses of the Claimant’s case, the Employer’s defence and give guidance on whether it is worth defending the Claim. Even if the Employer has a strong defence, it may be cheaper and less time consuming to settle the claim at this stage.

4. Prepare evidence thoroughly. The response to the Claim should stick to the allegations made by the Claimant and the legal issues this raises. Make sure that all factual statements given in the defence can be supported by evidence and that there are no inconsistencies.

5. Respond in time. The Employer has just 28 days to respond to the claim by completing form ET3 and returning this to the Tribunal Office. This deadline is strictly applied and the employer should ensure that the response arrives at the Tribunal office in good time.