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15 Equal Opportunities
10. Going to an employment tribunal
You can take your case to an employment tribunal if:
In all these cases, you must also have put in your grievance to your employer at least 28 days ago.
The cost of going to a tribunal can be low. Even if you lose your case, you will not have to pay your employer’s costs unless the tribunal decides you were being unreasonable in bringing the claim.
You bring a tribunal claim by filling in an application form, called an ET1. You can get this from your local Jobcentre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Equal Opportunities Commission or online from the Employment Tribunal Service (see ‘Further help’ for details).
You must normally make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months minus one day from when you first knew about the discrimination. However, if the discrimination is ongoing, this time limit may not apply. The time limit does not apply if you are complaining because you believe you are not receiving the same pay as other workers. In this case you can make a claim to the tribunal:
If you are going through the grievance or disciplinary procedure, you have an extra three months to bring your claim, as long as:
Using the questionnaire procedure
If you want to make a claim to an employment tribunal, you normally send a special form, called a questionnaire, to your employer. You can get this form from:
In this form, you can ask your employer for more information about your treatment. For example, if you believe that you didn’t get a job because of your sex, you can ask for details of:
If you believe you may not be receiving equal pay, this form will also help you find out whether this is the case and if so, why.
You must send the form to the employer :
You don’t have to use the questionnaire procedure, but it will normally help your case. In the same way, the employer doesn’t legally have to fill in the form, but if they don’t, it may harm their case. And if you do use it, you can still choose to withdraw your complaint before your case is dealt with by the tribunal.
How compensation is worked out
If the tribunal rules that you, have been unlawfully discriminated against, it can award you compensation for:
If you are unhappy with the tribunal’s decision
If you or your employer, are unhappy about how the tribunal reached its decision, you may be able to appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. But you can appeal only on whether the law was applied correctly, not on whether you thought the tribunal’s decision was fair. You have 42 days after the decision to lodge an appeal.
Leaflet Version: December 2019