10 secrets to winning an unfair dismissal claim

by Direct2Lawyers on July 31, 2012

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Redmans Solicitors are specialist no win no fee unfair dismissal solicitors and represent clients in the Employment Tribunal on a regular basis.

The top 10 secrets to winning an unfair dismissal claim:

  1. Educate yourself on the law relating to unfair dismissal
  2. Pick the right specialist unfair dismissal solicitor
  3. Create your witness statement early
  4. See if your co-workers are willing to give evidence in your unfair dismissal claim
  5. Gather your evidence quickly and thoroughly
  6. Go and watch a case at the Employment Tribunal
  7. Get your Schedule of Loss right
  8. Make a reasonable offer of settlement early in the case
  9. Comply with Employment Tribunal Orders promptly
  10. Dress appropriately for your Employment Tribunal hearing

1. Educate yourself on the law relating to unfair dismissal

If you’re instructing a specialist unfair dismissal solicitor then you won’t necessarily need to educate yourself to the same degree on the law relating to unfair dismissal. However, if you intend on handling your unfair dismissal case in the Employment Tribunal yourself then it’s important that you get up to speed on employment law – and quickly. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Credibility – if you get key things wrong then you’re much less likely to be taken seriously by the other side’s solicitors (and they will have expert employment law solicitors)
  • Speed – if the Employment Tribunal can identify the issues in your case quickly then it removes a lot of hassle (including, potentially, a Case Management Discussion)
  • Accuracy – as above, it helps a lot if you know what you’re claiming for and how to claim for it

There are a number of good books on employment law out there (just search for “employment law” on Amazon).

2. Pick the right specialist unfair dismissal solicitor

Picking the right specialist unfair dismissal solicitor for you is a crucial, crucial stage in your unfair dismissal claim. If you don’t have enough time to take your unfair dismissal claim on or you don’t have the necessary confidence then you’ll want to instruct an expert unfair dismissal solicitor to handle your case. So, what factors should you consider in deciding which solicitor to instruct?

  • Expertise – are they an expert in unfair dismissal claims? Can they undertake the Employment Tribunal representation in your case?
  • Approachability – do you like your solicitor? Can you contact them easily?
  • Funding method – is your solicitor willing to take your unfair dismissal case on a no win no fee basis?

Using the above criteria (among others) assess whether the solicitor that you’ve contacted regarding your unfair dismissal is appropriate.

Even if you don’t want to instruct a solicitor you can obtain employment law advice on a free consultation basis from an employment lawyer.

3. Create your witness statement early

This is one of the most important things you can do for your claim. As soon as you start experiencing problems at work or (alternatively) lose your job you should write everything down that’s happened to you. This will be an invaluable help to you or your unfair dismissal solicitor – memories fade extremely quickly and the quicker you are to put your experience down on paper, the more credible you’re likely to be before an Employment Tribunal (and that’s an extremely important consideration).

4. See if your co-workers are willing to give evidence in your unfair dismissal claim

Your evidence in the Employment Tribunal in your unfair dismissal claim is the most important – only you know what exactly has happened to you. However, if you can persuade one of your co-workers to give evidence on your behalf as regards a relevant fact in your case then you’ve taken one more step towards winning your unfair dismissal claim. It’s best to sound out your co-workers at an early stage and get a witness statement from them before your employer has a chance to “scare” them.

5. Gather your evidence quickly and thoroughly

At number 5, another evidential point. There are two types of evidence in the Employment Tribunal in an unfair dismissal claim – witness evidence (as above) and documentary evidence. Documentary evidence encompasses pretty much everything that can be recorded – from taped conversations to meeting minutes, emails to diary entries. Do a forensic search of everything that could possibly contain relevant information – you never know, there might be a key email lurking in your inbox that could win you your unfair dismissal case.

6. Go and watch a case at the Employment Tribunal

You’re entitled (unless extreme circumstances apply in a case) to turn up at your local Employment Tribunal and watch proceedings – and it’s certainly recommended. You can gain a very good feeling from what’s expected of you as a Claimant or a witness in an unfair dismissal case by simply observing how expert employment lawyers and their witnesses deal with a claim.

7. Get your Schedule of Loss right

This is, again, crucial for your credibility. Your employer’s solicitors are far more likely to engage in constructive settlement negotiations if they think that you’re serious about your case and know what you’re doing (this is another good reason for instructing a specialist unfair dismissal solicitor). If you don’t present yourself well then you’re more likely to settle your claim at an undervalue.

8. Make a reasonable offer of settlement early in the case

Knowing how to play the tactical game is one of the keys to winning an unfair dismissal case in the Employment Tribunal. After your unfair dismissal ET1 (your claim form) has been submitted and your schedule of loss has been sent to the other side you should (or your solicitor should) attempt to settle your claim early. Employment Tribunal proceedings can be expensive for the employer and they’ll want to try and minimise their costs, including the cost of being represented in your unfair dismissal claim. Because of this you may also be able to enter into a compromise agreement with your employer before the start of proceedings – it’s worth asking about this. To get compromise agreement advice from a specialist solicitor click here.

9. Comply with Employment Tribunal Orders promptly

The penultimate recommendation is a simple (and an obvious) but an effective one. You don’t want to start irritating the Employment Tribunal by getting them to chase you – comply with the Employment Tribunal directions accurately and promptly and you won’t have a problem.

10. Dress appropriately for your Employment Tribunal hearing

Our last “secret” is to dress appropriately for your unfair dismissal Employment Tribunal hearing. Wear what you’d normally wear to a job interview (unless you’re a swimsuit model) is our rule of thumb – a dark suit and tie if you’re a man, a skirt and blouse if you’re female.

If you have a constructive dismissal claim read further on how to prepare your constructive dismissal claim.

Direct 2 Lawyers offer free employment law advice to employees and free employment law advice for employers.

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