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Leaving employment can be overwhelming in any event, but particularly if you are not leaving on amicable terms with your employer and certain events have led to departure. This can often make ex-employees feel deflated. However, you are not powerless to do anything about it and may be able to bring a claim against your employer.

If you feel as though the steps taken by your employer were unfair, unreasonable and may be unlawful then you can take legal advice and consider if you wish to bring a claim against your employer. If you are wondering how exactly to bring a claim and don’t know where to start, here are some useful pointers.

Early Acas Conciliation

To make a claim to the employment tribunal, you must first commence the Acas early conciliation process. This is a free service and you need to notify Acas before you make a claim to the employment tribunal.

Before you contact them, you must consider the following:

  1. Are you within the relevant time limit to bring a claim? The general time limit for a claim is within three months minus one day of the date the potential claim arises. If you are claiming unfair dismissal, you will likely be counting from your date of dismissal. For example, if your employment was terminated on 5 July 2023 then you would count the three months minus one day from this termination date and need to submit your Acas notification by 4 October 2023.
  2. Have you tried resolving the problem with your employer? Steps might include informally raising the problem within your workplace, following your employer’s grievance procedure and submitting a formal complaint, or even raising an appeal to decisions made by your employer as part of their procedures. The time limit for bringing a claim continues to run and isn’t extended by exhausting internal processes or settlement discussions. So, you need to keep in mind whether informal resolution is possible within the time frame you have and whether you wish to bring a claim.

Once you have considered the above, you can then notify Acas that you wish to pursue a claim either using the online form, calling by telephone or using Relay UK text relay. This initial contact with Acas involves speaking to them about what has happened and confirming if you wish for them to contact your employer, to see if early resolution can be found.

Whilst Acas adopt a neutral role and don’t take on an advisory role, they can facilitate communication to a point where a settlement agreement is reached. If you choose to settle, then Acas would record this settlement in an appropriate agreement and both sides would avoid the time and costs of court.

Issuing an ET1 form

Once Early Conciliation has concluded, you will be issued with a certificate. You need this in order to submit your claim on a form, known as an ET1.

The ET1 form is your first opportunity to outline your claim. It is important that the ET1 is completed as accurately as possible, including the reference from your Early Conciliation certificate. Accuracy at an early stage ensures that you are presenting your position in the clearest way possible from the outset. Some parts are simple to set out, such as personal contact details, your Acas early conciliation number (which is allocated once you make contact with them), as well as details of your employment.

What can be trickier for claimants to set out in the ET1 are what claims are specifically available to them (under the relevant statutory authority), the background facts which support these specific claims and understanding the level of detail required for the tribunal to consider. Our team is available to assist in drafting your grounds and ensuring that your information aligns with the statutory test for the claim(s) you seek to bring against your employer.

After the ET1: What next?

Once your claim has been accepted by the Tribunal, they will notify your employer who will usually have 28 days to file their response from the date it is sent to them. A hearing would usually be listed at this stage, often to deal with the management of the case but it is important to get advice on the next steps in the process. It is important to comply with the next steps and deadlines set by the Tribunal.

How can we help?

A Preliminary Overview Meeting with our Employment Law team can help establish on the facts and information you provide, whether a claim is available to you to bring against your employer and support you through the process. Please be aware, it is important to obtain advice and/or submit your potential claim as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss your opportunity to bring a claim within the required time limits.