Employment tribunals

If you decide to proceed with an employment tribunal claim, you will need to send a claim to the tribunal local to where you work. Usually, this must be done within 3 months of the incident about which you are complaining. The tribunals website has more detailed information.

The risks of bringing a claim

There are many, including:

• Uncertainty about whether you will win your case. However strong you think your case is, remember it is the Tribunal who has to decide whether to accept your or your employer's version of events and whether the employer acted unlawfully;

• The stress involved. Most employees find the process very stressful;

• The time involved. Do not underestimate the time it will take, not only putting in the claim but sorting out any relevant documents (which will need to be sent to your employer) drafting your witness statement, reading the employer's statements, attending the hearing and so on;

• Any risk that if your claim becomes public, it might damage your prospects of getting another job. If you work in a small industry there may be 'gossip' about you bringing a claim which could harm your career.

What can an employment tribunal do?

If you win, an employment tribunal can award for any loss you have suffered as a result, for example, of your dismissal. The most that can be awarded for an unfair dismissal is £68,400 (where the employee was dismissed before 1 February 2012), or £72,300 (where the employee was dismissed on or after 1 February 2012). There is no cap if the dismissal was discriminatory and you can get an award for injury to feelings and personal injury. If you settle your claim before reaching the tribunal you may decide on a compromise agreement with your employer. This usually means that you have to undertake not to discuss the details of what happened and any settlement with anyone outside your family.