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Employment Tribunals


Employment tribunals were created as industrial tribunals by the Industrial Training Act 1964. The original purpose of the Act was to make better provision for the training of persons over compulsory school age for employment in any activities of industry or commerce.

Industrial tribunals were judicial bodies consisting of a lawyer who was the chairman, an individual nominated by an employer association, and another by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) or by a TUC-affiliated union. These independent panels heard and made legally binding rulings in relation to employment law disputes.


In 1968 the Donovan Report (the Report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations, Cmnd 3623) recommended that labour tribunals should be established to provide “an easily accessible, speedy, informal and inexpensive procedure” for the settlement of employment disputes (para 578). As a result, the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals, originally established by the Industrial Training Act 1964 to hear appeals concerning training levies, was extended to include jurisdiction over a wide range of employment rights. In 1998, they were renamed employment tribunals.

Employment Tribunals are intended to provide a forum for the enforcement of employment rights by employees and workers, including those who have recently lost their jobs, and those who are vulnerable to long term unemployment.

Employment tribunals may hear claims brought within three months for issues related to statutory breaches only. The statutory breaches are listed below.


Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 


Unfair dismissal:

  • Unlawful wage deductions or required payments to employers

  • Disputes regarding written particulars of employment

  • Disputes regarding itemised pay statements

  • Breach of the National Minimum Wage

  • Disputes regarding time off for public duty (including jury service)

  • Maternity, paternity and adoption issues: pay and leave


Under the Equality Act 2010:

  • Claims of discrimination because of protected characteristic of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments because of dismissal

  • Dismissal or detriment

  • Bullying and harassment


Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1922:

  • Unfair dismissal and other actions for reasons related to trade union membership or participation in industrial action

  • Offering of inducements to not join a trade union or opt-out from collective bargaining agreements

  • Blacklisting

  • Issues related to taking time off for union duties

  • Failure to consult a recognised union or representative organisation over a proposed redundancy or over changes to training

  • Disputes over union membership including disciplinary action or expulsion of members


Also, action can be brought under a number of other statutes:

  • The Working Time Regulations for issues related to rest breaks, rest periods, detriments for failure to work in excess of the maximum time etc.

  • The National Minimum Wage Act 1998  

  • The Employment Relations Act for failing to allow workers to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance hearings

  • The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2002  





Going to Tribunal is costly and stressful and we always consider early resolution to avoid litigation.  We are expert at negotiating settlement and will always explore this as a first port of call.  Where this is not achievable we can provide representation at Tribunal.


We provide the full range of legal services such as advising on:


  • Complaints and grievances

  • Disciplinary and performance issues

  • Discrimination, bullying & harassment

  • Disputes about employment contracts

  • Maternity leave disputes

  • Redundancies

  • Settlement Agreements

  • Negotiating and agreed Exit

We can represent you in the Employment Tribunal, High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.



We offer a free 30-minute telephone consultation appointment.  If you would like to arrange a free appointment, contact us through this website quoting reference number TMPfree01 here.

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