1. Overview

An employee can take you to an employment tribunal over various issues, including:

  • pay
  • dismissal
  • discrimination

The tribunal is independent and can ask you to pay compensation or reinstate the employee if you lose the case.

Solve the dispute without a hearing

You will probably be contacted by Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) who will offer to work with you and your employee to try to solve the problem - this is called ‘conciliation’.

You can call Acas for help and advice:

Telephone: 0300 123 11 00
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Find out about call charges

Respond to a claim

The tribunal will let you know formally if a claim has been made against you if conciliation doesn’t work. You can respond by either:

You must respond to the claim within 28 days.

You can request an extension giving you more time to answer the claim, but if you don’t respond, or are late, the tribunal may make a decision without a hearing.

Settlement agreements

You could also sign a settlement agreement.

This offers the employee compensation, who in return drops their claim.

The employee must get legal advice before they sign a settlement agreement. You’re not required to pay all the legal fees, but employers often do to help the process go forward.

Get help or legal advice

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 can’t give legal advice.

Employment tribunal enquiry line
Telephone: 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Telephone: 0141 354 8574 (Scotland)
Minicom: 01509 221 564
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.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.