Employment Tribunal —Everything You Need to Know to Avoid It

Employment tribunals are every employer’s worst nightmare. And rightly so. Considering that the average award for unfair dismissal was £12,362 in the year 2015- 2016, employee tribunal has the potential to interrupt, harm, and truncate the cash flow of any business. Employee tribunals also have a tendency to be unpredictable—a fact which makes it vital that employers avoid it altogether. Here are a few tips from our experts that would help you avoid costly employment tribunals.

1. Have Unambiguous, Updated Employment Contracts In Place

Not having a contract in place, or having an outdated one is one of the main issues that lead to employment tribunals. A clear, well-written contract is the most important document that your company may possess and is the one document that can avoid multiple issues from occurring in the first place.

Talking about the reasons why employee problems occur; the ambiguity in the contract relating to the employee working hours, notice periods, leaves, and the clear identification of the job roles is the major cause. Your employees have a right to receive a written copy of the terms and conditions which are laid down clearly, leaving nothing to open interpretation.

Ensuring the provision of a well-written employment contract will help you avoid the most common issues that raise their heads and lead to employment tribunals. Another thing to bear in mind is to keep updating your contract each year, every year. This will make sure that your contract does not fall short of any important detail, and will keep you on the safer side.

2. Act Early, Act Fast

If a complaint is made by one of your employees that they have been unfairly discriminated against, it is vital to seek professional help immediately. Failure to deal with the issue on time will count against you in the court of law. The key is to make sure that you have done all you can and a dismissal had been the last resort. Keep performance reports and other documents like warning letters in black and white.

If you notice any warning signs in the behaviour or performance of your employees, take appropriate measures and don’t shy away from the prospect of conducting awkward meetings. Nipping the problem in the bud is the best way to avoid employment tribunals. Again, keep a recorded documentation about the meeting to protect your business from any unfair dismissal claim. If you have any queries, you can always reach out to our experts at +44 20 3371 7085, and we’ll help you out.

3. Discipline and Grievances—Follow the Acas Code of Practice Religiously

If a grievance is made by an employee, or their conduct falls below the discipline standards set in your company’s code of conduct, it is time to initiate taking the right measures as is expected from you as an employer. Following the Acas Code of Practice will be the safety net you need to avoid a tribunal. This is because all employment tribunal cases are legally required to take this practice under observation, and if you have not followed it through, it will reflect badly. In addition to this, a failure to comply with any of the regulations in the Acas code will cost you up to 25 percent in awards.

Acting in accordance with this code will keep you on the safe side of the law and help you avoid employment tribunals.

4. Deal With Employees’ Lack of Capability with Tact

Poor performance can be a tricky subject to deal with, and these issues need to be dealt with tact. Observe employee performances on a regular basis and intervene whenever necessary to boost an employee’s performance if you see a decline. This will ensure that a small problem does not turn into a huge one, and that if you decide to dismiss the employee after multiple interventions, you would have done all that is in your power to avoid the dismissal in the first place. Clearly identify the areas where the said employees are lacking. Consult the contract and check their job roles to make sure that the work demands are not exceeding what is set in black and white.

5. It Is Always Better to Have a Professional by Your Side

When in trouble, always seek the help of a professional. It can be tricky to keep a track of all the laws and regulations, so it is better to have a professional who excels in the area of labour and employment law on your side. They will guide you in the best way, providing you apt and accurate navigation through the murky waters of employment laws and regulations

Your company is your asset, and a lawyer would be essential in terms of providing you the best way to avoid employment tribunals. 

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Disclaimer: The information and commentary on this website is provided for information purposes only. The information, and commentary on this website does not, and is not intended to, amount to business or legal advice. We aim to make sure the information on our website, whether provided by ourselves or contributed by third parties, is accurate at the date of publication. However, some information you find on our website, particularly information relating to the law, may be time sensitive and can sometimes change after the date of publication.

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