Has anyone been through the experience of an employment tribunal?(6 Posts)
I have not posted here but I am a regular reader. I am taking my employers to tribunal and the hearing is next week ? it has been a long year to get there (and this forum has kept me going through a lot of it!). I can?t share too many details at this stage as it is too sensitive, but it surrounds redundancy/maternity leave/suitable alternative vacancies etc.
I have two questions
1) Has anyone else been through the experience of an employment tribunal? Do you have any tips or experiences to share? I am especially interested around the experience of being cross examined but am also interested in everything that mattered to you/you wish you had know before on the days of the hearing.
2) Has anyone involved the press? If so, how did you do it? Do you regret having done it or was it worth it?
I think this forum is fab.... Is there anyone out there who can help me? I promise to help everyone else once my I can talk about it because I now feel so strongly about the principle of standing up to them.
Thanks in advance everyone x
I'm an employment lawyer so although i've not brought a claim myself I have acted for many indiviudals and companies who have. As a claimant you will usually find that the panel is sympathetic -ie they understand that it can be daunting and they will usually ensure that you're put at your ease (as far as they're able). I have an excellent note on giving evidence that was prepared by a barrister at a top chambers and I'd be happy to email it to you if you let me have your email address.
As for press, depending on where the Tribunal is taking place (esp London) there are often roving reporters trying to snap up a case that sounds vaguely newsworthy. my experience of the press has been when I have acted for companies. It's usually the Daily Mail and in all honesty reading what they have put makes my blood boil. They take a case and try and find any bit of slightly salacious material to make it into an 'interesting' case. In my view the claimant comes off badly but i am probably biased. It creates a lot of bad publicity for the company (and its witnesses) but by the time of the Tribunal it's not exactly going to help you win the case but I can understand that it might make you feel better if you feel you have been mis-treated.
I work in HR and have represented my company and my friends on occasion. A few tips from my experience:
Make sure that you have complied with the Tribunal's orders and directions eg exchange of witness statements and schedule of loss etc.
Hopefully the other side will have prepared a bundle of documents. The Tribunal will work from this. Know your way around it. The Tribunal will only read the documents that you refer them to, make sure that you refer them to all the key documents that you are relying upon for your case.
Be prepared - prepare your questions for the other side's witnesses based on their witness statements - at least as much as you are able and you will also need to react on the day and may need to make changes.
Be organised - keep your documents in the bundle in page order. Flag the key pages and highlight the sections that you particularly want to refer to.
Don't be afraid to ask for a few moments to gather your thoughts when required, but don't overdo it either.
You will have to stand up and swear on your chosen holy book or take an affirmation before giving your evidence. You will then be expected to read your prepared witness statement. Pause whenever your statement refers to a documents so that the Tribunal members can read it. They will tell you when to resume. You will not be able to take a marked copy of your witness statement onto the stand with you, you will have to use the copy that was given into the Tribunal clerk.
When facing cross examination be prepared for hostile and leading questions eg "I put it to you that you didn't do that did you?". When you are asked a question, answer it honestly, don't be evasive. Don't answer a question with a question.
A Tribunal can be a stressful and emotional time for many people. The Tribunal willtry to put you at ease but it can still be daunting. If you have not already done so, I would recommend that you try and visit the Tribunal for a day in advance of your hearing and sit in on a few of the cases. They are normally heard in public and you can wander in and out. It will help you get a feel for how they work and what to expect. It may help put you at ease and feel more confident.
Whether you win on not will depend on the facts, as they come out during the hearing and the relevant law. Emotion will play no part in the decision. Try and focus your case on the relevant facts and the relevant legal points.
Whilst the Tribunal makes its decision based on facts the press are only interested in sensation. Threatening to involve the press is only of value if your former employer is shy of publicity and you are hoping to settle before the hearing. I would not recommend involving the press for any other reason. They are unlikely to present an accurate account of events and you may not like what they print.
On the press...
Your case is rarely of interest to the press unless it's (a) a well known company and salacious; or (b) banking and big bucks, preferably with some salacious details. Honestly, all they care about is sexual harassment and race, sometimes with a bit of homophobia thrown in for interest. If your case is "I was selected for redundancy because I was on maternity leave" then unless you are interesting in and of yourself (you are Nicola Horlick say, or a CEO), they probably won't be interested. Sorry if that's a bit blunt.
The press often report on only a tiny aspect of the case and can make you look terribly bad. Also bear in mind that you have no control over how the story is reported.
In addition, a company who might have settled at the last minute usually won't if there is press as they then feel that they need to clear their name.
Personally, I would steer clear of press at all costs.
This thread is over 5 years old so you might not get a response from the person you mentioned.
However, there are some really helpful and knowledgeable people on here so if you start a new thread with as much detail as you feel you can then you may well get some excellent advice.
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