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Employment Tribunals - Jargon buster

As part of the Employment Tribunal process, there may be words and terms which are unfamiliar to you. We’ve set out some of the more common phrases you may encounter, along with a definition to help explain the meaning.



Bundle of documents the file of all documents relevant to the claim that the employment tribunal will look at during the hearing.
Claimant the party bringing the claim.
Claim form a form (also known as an “ET1”) produced by the employment tribunal service for claimants to use to provide the mandatory information relevant to their claim. Claimants are required to use this form to initiate claims in the employment tribunal. Also known as a form ET1.   
Compensation an amount of money, awarded to someone in recognition of loss, suffering or injury.
Costs application an application made to the employment tribunal for the judge to order that one side pays the other side’s costs incurred in respect of the case.
Counsel a barrister who is instructed on a particular case in the employment tribunal.
Disclosure this means that all documents relevant to an issue in the claim that are in a party's possession, custody or control should be disclosed to the other party or parties. This includes the documents on which the party relies, as well as the documents which adversely affect their case, adversely affect another party's case, or support another party's case. To disclose a document, you notify the other party of that document’s existence. You may then be required to provide a copy of that document to the other party.
Discrimination issues/allegations these arise where a person claims that they have been discriminated against during their employment contrary to the Equality Act 2010. The Act protects people with certain protected characteristics: age, disability, sex, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. The different types of discrimination are direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation, discrimination arising from disability, or failure to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled worker.
Final hearing a hearing at which the tribunal determines the claim, or such parts as remain outstanding as at the date of the hearing. There may be different final hearings for different issues, for example, liability, remedy or costs.
Pre-claim conciliation a process that applies to most employment disputes, under which one of the parties must contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) in order to try reach an agreement between the parties, before a claim can be issued in the employment tribunal, unless one of the limited exceptions applies.
Preliminary hearing a hearing that takes place before a final hearing. This may be to allow the judge to familiarise themselves with the claim, clarify the issues and decide on matters such as the date and time of the final hearing and how long the final hearing should take; such a hearing would be called a case management hearing. A preliminary hearing may also determine issues in the case, where dealing with those issues early in proceedings is likely to make the proceedings as a whole more efficient.
Schedule of loss a document setting out how much the claimant would like the employment tribunal to award if the claim is successful. This document states how much a claim is worth.
Unfair dismissal a dismissal of an employee in contravention of section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. For a dismissal to be fair it must be for one of the five potentially fair reasons in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (conduct, capability, redundancy, breach of a statutory restriction or "some other substantial reason") and the employer must act reasonably in all the circumstances, including the size and administrative resources of the undertaking, in treating that reason as sufficient to justify dismissal of the employee.
Whistleblowing the act of a of a worker (or "whistleblower") making a qualifying (protected) disclosure to an employer, regulator, legal adviser, minister or other responsible or prescribed person that a relevant failure (for example the endangerment of health and safety) has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur. In these circumstances and subject to fulfilling certain criteria, the whistleblower will be protected from being dismissed or subjected to a detriment because of the disclosure.
Witness statement a written document, used in the employment tribunal, setting out the evidence of a person (witness) involved
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