Employment tribunals deal with claims brought against employers by employees, typically relating to unfair and wrongful dismissals, discrimination, equal pay, and deductions from wages. Following recent reforms, employees must pay a fee to pursue a tribunal claim, and must contact Acas at the outset to try to resolve the dispute through early conciliation.

This factsheet examines the steps employees must take to start a claim and what the employer needs to do to respond in a timely fashion. It looks at the main facets of the formal tribunal hearing, including the types of hearing, preparation needed, representatives involved, possible outcomes, and procedures at the hearing. The factsheet concludes by looking at the alternative of settling claims through conciliation or mediation (rather than going to an employment tribunal), and describes the key features of settlement agreements.

CIPD viewpoint

What is an employment tribunal?

Starting and responding to a claim

The tribunal hearing

Settlement of claims

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist, and by Rachel Suff.

Rachel Suff

Rachel Suff: Employee Relations Adviser

Rachel joined the CIPD as a policy adviser in 2014 to increase the CIPD’s public policy profile and engage with politicians, civil servants, policy-makers and commentators to champion better work and working lives. An important part of her role is to ensure that the views of the profession inform CIPD policy thinking in ER areas such as health and well-being, employee engagement and employment relations.

As well as developing policy on UK employment issues, she helps guide the CIPD’s thinking in relation to European developments affecting the world of work. Rachel is a qualified HR practitioner and researcher; her prior roles include working as a researcher/editor for XpertHR and as a senior policy adviser at Acas.

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