When you can claim

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think someone has treated you unlawfully, such as your employer, a potential employer or a trade union. 

Unlawful treatment can include: 

The tribunal is independent of government. It will listen to you (the ‘claimant’) and the person or organisation you’re making a claim against (the ‘respondent’) before making a decision.

There’s a different way to claim if you live in Northern Ireland.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Time limits

You usually have to make a claim within 3 months of your employment ending or the problem happening.

If you think you’ve lost your job unfairly, the 3 month period begins from the date your employment ended.

If your claim is about discrimination or a dispute over pay, the 3 month period begins when the incident or dispute happened.

Before you make a claim to an employment tribunal, you must tell Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

The time limit for making a claim is put on hold while Acas helps you resolve your dispute.

If you’re claiming for unfair dismissal

You may be able to apply to continue your paid employment (also known as ‘interim relief’) until the case is decided.

You can only apply for interim relief in a few situations. These include if you’ve been dismissed for: 

  • trade union activities 
  • acting as a workers’ representation 
  • whistleblowing

You must make your claim within 7 days of being dismissed. You do not need to notify Acas, unless you’re also making other claims that do not involve applying for interim relief.