Bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunal
If you are unable to sort out your pay issue with your employer, you can bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal. The ET is an independent body that decided cases about employment disputes. If you present a claim to them they will arrange a hearing where a judge will decide whether you have been underpaid. If they decide you have, they will issue a judgment in your favour against your employer. This can then be enforced like any court order.
Time limits: There are strict time limits on bringing a case to the tribunal and, if you are interested in bringing a claim, it is important not to miss them. We provide some advice on this-
First step: ACAS Early Conciliation
Before you present a claim to the tribunal, you will almost always need to go through a process of Early Conciliation via ACAS. This aims to give you and your employer a final opportunity to sort things out before a claim begins.
To being Early Conciliation you will need to contact ACAS to give them contact details for you and your employer. This can be done via their website: https://ec.acas.org.uk
ACAS will then contact you and your employer to discuss the dispute and try to broker a compromise. You are likely to receive a number of phone calls from ACAS as they clarify with you what has happened and what you want – then discuss that with the employer and see what they want. If you are able to reach agreement ACAS will then help you draw up a binding legal agreement to settle the claim.
It’s important to realise that ACAS’s job is to be independent of employer and employee so that they can try to help both of you reach agreement. They will not be able to give you legal advice on your claim or act as your representative to your employer.
Although it is generally compulsory to enter Early Conciliation, you do not have to enter extended negotiations with your employer if you do not want to. If you are convinced that there is no realistic chance of settling the dispute during conciliation and want to proceed quickly to the tribunal, you can explain that to ACAS and they will bring conciliation to an end.
Presenting a claim to the Tribunal
If you do not manage to reach an agreement during Earl Conciliation you may want to consider presenting a claim to the Employment Tribunal.
You will need to complete a claim form, also known as an ET1. This is a form that sets out your details, your employer’s details and the details of your complaint. It can be completed online at:
The hardest part of completing the form is generally where it asks you to provide ‘the background and details of your claim’. This needs to set out enough information that the tribunal, who will not start off knowing anything about you or your circumstances, can understand what the dispute is about.
For example, saying ‘Mr Bloggs owes me £600’ is not enough information, because the tribunal will not understand how that figure has been reached.
On the other hand ‘I was employed by Mr Blogs until last November. He paid me £300 a week. I resigned to take up another job, giving him two weeks notice as my contract required. I worked those two weeks as normal, but he has never paid me any money. I therefore believe I am owed £600.’ is much better. A tribunal, reading that, will understand what your claim is about.
If you have used this site to calculate some of what you are owed, it may be useful to copy those calculations into the form. But you are likely to have to include more information and explanation to make sense of those calculations.
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