You can be taken to an employment tribunal by an employee or someone else (for example a job applicant or trade union) over various issues, including:

  • pay
  • dismissal
  • discrimination

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

The tribunal is independent of government and will listen to you (the ‘respondent’) and the other party (the ‘claimant’) before making a decision.

You may have to pay compensation or reinstate the claimant if you lose the case.

Solve the dispute without a hearing

You’ll be contacted by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) if someone wants to make a claim against you. They’ll offer to work with you and the claimant to try to solve the problem without it going to a tribunal - this is called ‘conciliation’.

Call Acas for help and advice.

Telephone: 0300 123 11 00
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Respond to a claim

The tribunal will send you a letter (known as a ‘response pack’) if a claim has been made against you and conciliation has not worked.

Before you respond, read the response guidance.

You can then respond either:

If you’re a solicitor or a legal professional who got a 16-digit reference number in your response pack, you can respond online using a MyHMCTS account.

You must respond to the claim within 28 days.

You may be able to get more time to respond - ask the tribunal. If you’re late or do not respond, the tribunal may make a decision against you without a hearing.

Offer the claimant compensation

You can try to settle the case at any time by offering to pay compensation to the claimant (known as a ‘settlement agreement’).

You may want to get legal advice if a claim is made against you.

Call the employment tribunal enquiry line for general guidance on how the process works. They cannot give you legal advice.

Employment Tribunal customer contact centre
Telephone: 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Telephone: 0300 303 5176 (Welsh language)
Telephone: 0300 790 6234 (Scotland)
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Textphone: 18001 0300 790 6234 (Scotland)
Find out about call charges

If you’re in Northern Ireland

Your case will be dealt with by the Office of Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal.