Employment Tribunals and settlements

The Employment Tribunal can award in excess of £80,000 for unfair dismissal. For discrimination & victimisation claims, compensation can be much, much more. In fact, it is UNLIMITED.

You and your managers and employees can be ordered to pay compensation PERSONALLY too.

There are over 100,000 claims made to Employment Tribunals throughout Britain each year. This may or may not result in a contested hearing – where both sides call witnesses. Usually lawyers are involved and lots of documents. It's very expensive.

Someone wins and someone loses.  Remember, it’s a ‘court of law’ not a ‘court of justice’. The law can be a bit of a lottery at times. This is why so many cases settle. If you do decide to fight your case, it is essential to be prepared with all your witnesses and documents in order. The more information you have in writing, the better.  

As a wise man once said 'a lawyer who acts for himself has a fool for a client'! That applies to the Employment Tribunals as well. There are lots of procedures and tactics and tips and tricks. So, you need an expert to help you. 

Scott Johnston has appeared in various Courts and Tribunals since qualifying as a Barrister 20 years ago. 

‘Amicable’ Settlement'

If you decide that it is preferable to reach an agreement, the only way to be sure you are settling your case properly is to sign a legally binding ‘compromise agreement’ or a settlement agreement through ACAS.  If you don’t do this, then you are leaving yourself exposed to litigation – a handshake or a "gentleman’s agreement" is not enough.

As the name implies, settlement does involve 'compromise'. That is, it is better to settle for a guaranteed sum of money or particular terms of agreement than risk losing it all…  Settlement avoids adverse press coverage, wasted unproductive time and a huge amount of stress for everyone involved; it will probably impact on your home life too.

This is why the majority of cases do settle. However, in the negotiation process it’s important to be prepared for a full hearing, so that you can decide to go to a hearing if you don't like the best deal you are able to negotiate. 

Sometimes parties refuse to even consider a settlement on a point of principle. Remember that ‘principles can be expensive’…

Scott Johnston is an accomplished negotiator and undertakes much mediation activity.  He is constantly negotiating, agreeing settlement payments from a few hundred pounds up to £400,000. 

If you would like some help with improving your negotiation skills, visit the Training page and check out the 'soft skills' training.