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Should you settle or defend an employment tribunal claim

Posted on 19 May 2023

Knowing when to settle or defend an employment tribunal claim

Posted in Advice

Read time: 3 minutes

Employment tribunal claims can be a costly and time-consuming headache for business owners. Such claims can arise from various issues such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistle-blowing or breach of contract. In such situations, business owners must ask themselves three critical questions before taking any action:

  1. Do you have any experience of dealing with employment tribunals?
  2. Do you want to defend the case?
  3. Do you have the capacity and budget to work on the case and defend it?

Depending on the answers to these questions, businesses can formulate a strategy to reach the outcome they desire. At Winston Solicitors, we provide high-level advice to help you make informed decisions. Our approach ensures that we equip you with a good understanding of the case, the law involved, and the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

One of the critical decisions that a business owner must make when facing an employment tribunal claim is whether to settle or defend the case. At Winston Solicitors, we help businesses explore the various factors to make informed decisions.

The likelihood of winning the case is a significant factor to consider when deciding whether to defend or settle. If you are likely to lose the case, we will advise you to settle, as losing can result in compensation to the employee and legal fees for your business. It's essential to consider the character and psychology of the claimant (employee) and whether or not they want to settle or have their ‘day in court’. This will affect the final outcome of the case.

Another important factor to consider is the cost of defending the case. Employment tribunal cases can be expensive, and legal fees are not recoverable in most cases. A straightforward, unfair dismissal case may cost you £10,000 to defend. Even if you win the case, is it really a win for your business? It's important to consider the business's reputation and potential media coverage and determine whether it's worth it to defend the case or settle.

Employment tribunals are public forums, and the outcome of the case can be damaging to your business reputation. Even if you ultimately win the case, you must consider whether the potential media coverage is damaging to your business. In such cases, we would include a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement to mitigate this risk.

Time is another crucial factor to consider when deciding whether to settle or defend the case. Defending an employment tribunal case requires a considerable investment of time from your employees. They may need to work with us on the case and serve as witnesses. Are you happy for your people to be doing this instead of focusing on running and growing your business?

If you decide that settling the case is the best option, we can help you reach the lowest and quickest settlement possible. We understand the psychology behind negotiation and have the experience to help you achieve the desired outcome.

In cases where you decide to defend your case, it's crucial to work with an employment solicitor who knows how to get the best result for your business. At Winston Solicitors, we have extensive experience in handling employment tribunal cases, and we can help you navigate the legal process.

In conclusion, employment tribunal claims can be challenging for businesses to handle, and the decision to settle or defend the case is critical. At Winston Solicitors, we can provide you with the necessary guidance to help you make informed decisions. If your business is facing an employment tribunal claim or any other employment issues, call us today on 0113 320 5000 to discuss your options.