1. 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:

  • unfair dismissal
  • discrimination
  • unfair deductions from your pay

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

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

See if 
there’s another way to solve the problem before you make a claim to a tribunal, such as using a grievance procedure.

Before you make a claim

You must tell the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal.

You’ll be offered the chance to try and settle the dispute without going to court by using Acas’s free ‘Early Conciliation’ service.

Time you spend in early conciliation doesn’t affect the total time left to make a claim. If early conciliation doesn’t work, Acas will send you an early conciliation certificate - use this when you make a claim to the tribunal.

Once you receive your certificate, you’ll have the same amount of time to make your claim as you did before you started conciliation.

Example You have 2 months left to make your claim. You then start your early conciliation, which takes 6 weeks and isn’t successful. Acas then sends you your early conciliation certificate - you will then have 2 months left to make your claim.

Contact Acas if you have any questions.

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

Help you can get

You may want to get legal help or advice if you’re in England and Wales or Scotland before you make your claim.

You can also get free legal advice from Citizens Advice or Citizens Advice Scotland.

Your trade union may be able to pay for a solicitor.

The Equality Advisory and Support Service can help if your claim is about discrimination. You may also be able to get legal aid.

Call the customer contact centre if you have any questions about completing the form. They can’t give you legal advice.

Employment Tribunal customer contact centre
Telephone: 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Telephone: 0141 354 8574 (Scotland)
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Textphone: 18001 0141 354 8574 (Scotland)
Find out about call charges

If you’re in Northern Ireland

You’ll need to make a claim to the Office of Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal if you live in Northern Ireland.