If you’ve issued (or are planning to issue) an Employment Tribunal claim for whatever reason (whether it’s for unfair dismissal, discrimination, failure to pay wages, breach of contract etc.) then one of the most important things is to claim against the right employer. This seems like an obvious point but if you claim against the wrong type of legal personality or name the wrong business in your ET1 claim form then you’re setting yourself up for an uphill struggle in your claim. In this post we’ll therefore take a look at what Claimants should be looking at when attempting to identify a Respondent and who might be liable for their claim. We’ll do so by examining the following:
- Who is potentially liable for your Employment Tribunal claim?
- How do you identify the correct Respondent for your claim?
- What potential problems can you encounter if you get the Respondent wrong?
Who is potentially liable for your Employment Tribunal claim?
Who is potentially liable in an Employment Tribunal claim really depends upon the type of claim that you’re making. In unfair dismissal claims it is only the legal personality of your employer that is liable (the partnership, company or sole trader). However, if you’re making a claim for discrimination, harassment, victimization etc. then both the business and the individual employees who have “wronged” you may be liable in the Employment Tribunal claim. The first thing to do is therefore sit down and think about what type of claims you’re going to be making and therefore who is liable.
How do you identify the correct Respondent for your claim?
The first thing to look at is your payslips at your employer (if you received them). If you’ve never received payslips then this is a separate claim that you can make to the Employment Tribunal (failure to provide itemized payslips). You should also look at your contract of employment. If you don’t have a contract of employment or any form of written terms and conditions then this is an other potential claim you can make. If you don’t possess any payslips or a contract of employment then look through any correspondence (emails, letters etc.) that you’ve received from your employer. Also check your employer’s website (if they have one) – they have a legal obligation to put information relating to the nature and ownership of the company on a commercial website. By taking the above steps you should be able to identify whether you’re claiming against a company, partnership or sole trader and what the name of the particular Respondent is.
What potential problems can you encounter if you get the Respondent wrong?
The worst case scenario is that you receive an award for compensation which you’re not able to enforce because there’s no-one to pursue it against! It’s therefore important to make sure that you receive specialist employment law advice on this point before you issue your Employment Tribunal claim – or during your claim if you think it’s necessary.