* Terms & conditions

 

McDonough & Associates
Employment Law Consultants

Saunders House
52 - 53 The Mall
Ealing
LONDON W5 3TA
t: 020 3078 6820
f: 020 3008 8451
info@mcdonoughassociates.co.uk

also at:

2nd Floor
20 Chapel Street
LIVERPOOL L3 9AG
t: 0151 375 9736

Mercury House
Shipstones Business Centre
New Basford
NOTTINGHAM NG7 7FN
t: 0845 618 7708
f: 0115 964 8201

Is there a deadline for making a claim?

Yes – you must make a claim within 3 months of the act complained of, e.g. race, sex, disability discrimination, dismissal. The rules are very strict, although the Employment Tribunal does have some discretion to admit a late claim in exceptional circumstances. There is a 6 months time limit in the case of a claim for a redundancy payment but if you claim your dismissal for redundancy is alleged to be also an unfair dismissal then the 3 month time limit still applies to unfair dismissal, it is 6 months only in cases where you are claiming a redundancy payment. The discretion is wider when applying for extensions of time in discrimination cases. However, you will still need a very good reason for making a late claim. A very important point to note is that the time limit runs from the date the employment ends the time does not run from the date of an appeal. So if you are dismissed, say, on 1st January a claim for unfair dismissal must be lodged by midnight on 31st March. If your appeal ended on 1st February the time still ends on 31st March not 30th April.

Is there a minimum length to time I must have been employed before I can claim?

Yes – you normally need to have been employed for at least one year to claim unfair dismissal. However, there is no minimum time required if you claim that your dismissal is on grounds of discrimination, health and safety reasons, trade union activities, whistleblowing or where you have been dismissed because you have complained to your employer about an infringement of your legal rights.

Are there any procedures I must follow before lodging a claim?

The law did oblige employees to follow certain procedures, with cases of constructive dismissal when a grievance must be lodged before a claim but these procedural requirements ended in April 2009. Since then an employee does not have to follow any procedures before resigning. However, if an employee fails to lodge an internal appeal or lodge a grievance, as the case may be, the compensation for the relevant claim may be reduced to a maximum of 25%. The appropriate procedures can be found in the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. An employer can be obliged to uplift any compensation by up to a maximum of 25% if he fails to follow the disciplinary procedures or does not deal properly with a grievance.

Can I represent myself if I wish?

Yes and, unlike most other courts, you can be represented by anyone of your choice before the Employment Tribunal. However, employment law is now extremely complex, especially since 2004, and even highly experienced professionals find the new rules confusing. It is therefore very unwise to choose to represent yourself. If a practitioner, who is not a solicitor, agrees to represent you on a no win no fee basis they must be registered to offer such services with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). This a protection for you as any such firm must satisfy the MOJ that they are reputable. We are, of course, duly registered with the MOJ and our registration number is cited on our website. Always make sure that any representative you are thinking of engaging is properly registered with the MOJ.

If I lose will I have to pay costs to my former employer?

In most courts it is usually the case that the loser pays the winners costs. However, costs are only awarded in exceptional circumstances by the Employment Tribunal or the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This is usually in cases where the Tribunal feels that the claim has no merit whatsoever or you have misled the Tribunal about the facts of the case, for example. If we take up your case you need have no fear of costs being awarded against you as we will only offer no win no fee if we feel very confident of success. Alternatively, if you win it is extremely unlikely that you will be awarded costs.

Who sits on the Tribunals?

The Employment Tribunal has a panel of 3 members: there is an Employment judge who is, of course, a lawyer, the other two members are not lawyers, one will have been nominated by a trade union or other employee organisation and one will have been nominated by an employers organisation (e.g. CBI). The Employment Appeal Tribunal consists of a High Court Judge and two lay members who are also nominated by Trade Unions and employers’ organisations but are much more prominent within those organisations (e.g. General Secretary of a union) than those who sit on the Employment Tribunal.

Is it possible to settle a case without going to a hearing?

Yes, each case has an ACAS conciliation officer assigned to it who will try to enable the parties to negotiate a settlement. If we take up your case we do our best, for your sake and ours, to settle the case rather than going through the stress of a hearing with the risks involved. However, the final decision to settle for a particular sum always your decision, although we will, of course, give you advice as to what we think is an acceptable sum.

Will I have to attend the Tribunal?

Yes, you will have to give evidence, under oath or by affirmation, but your evidence will be given via you reading a written witness statement which we have to prepare for you before the hearing. All witnesses, including the employer’s witnesses, must provide a written witness statement before the hearing takes place.

McDonough Employment Law Ltd t/a McDonough & Associates
Regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities. Authorisation Number: CRM26713