Home > FAQ > Employment Law FAQ's > What happens when a former employee sues for unfair dismissal?

The procedure goes as follows:

  • The employee registers their complaint with the Employment Tribunal using form ET1. They are not required to pay a fee to register the claim.
  • They can bypass your company’s grievance procedure and go straight to the Tribunal. However, if they fail to go through the grievance procedure without reasonable cause, they may face up to 25% reduction of any award they win.
  • If the employee’s claim passes the ET1 stage, you will be sent a copy of the form. You are required to respond within 28 days using the ET3 form, detailing the case you intend to put forth to the Tribunal. If you do not respond, you risk a default judgment being awarded to the complainant.
  • Alongside your copy of the ET1, Acas will contact you inviting you to engage in a conciliation process. The case can take conciliation at any time until the hearing.
  • If the conciliation fails, a date will be set for the hearing, which can be scheduled at a minimum of 14 days’ notice. Failure to attend will likely result in favour being awarded to the employee.
  • While Tribunals are more informal than court procedures, you may call witnesses to support your claims, and you can cross-examine any witnesses brought by the other party. You can use a lawyer to present your case. If this is something you require, contact an employment lawyer at Helix Law.
  • Be aware that each side usually pays its own legal costs (find out about Helix Law’s Employment Tribunal costs here), but in the event that one side is considered to have behaved unreasonably, the Tribunal may award some costs against them.
  • The Tribunal’s decision may be announced when the case ends, or you may have to wait a few days. Both sides are issued with a written version of the decision detailing the reasons for the verdict. You may appeal the decision to the Employment Appeals Tribunal if you find it unsatisfactory within 42 days of notification of the decision. Always obtain legal advice before making an appeal.
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