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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by HollyA23, Mar 4, 2020.
Has anyone had any experience of making a legal claim against their workplace?
Try asking your union for guidance?
I, respectfully, disagree with Skeoch's advice.
I'd advise you to do your own research, or contact a solicitor.
In my case, I was told quite explicitly that there would be no chance I could open an employment tribunal because of certain limits and so forth. Low-and-behold, it turns out that I can and have since done so, with a solicitor on board who believes there is a case to answer. Whether or not it's successful is another matter, but fact is that the union offered bad advice.
My experience. Your mileage may vary.
Union solicitors will only take up a case if there is at least a 51% chance of winning. At least, that was the case when I tried.
While unions don't always get it right, I still think they are a sensible first port of call. But it might be wise to do a bit of research in advance, so you can see if there is anything more than just unfair dismissal involved. E,g. disability discrimination which can mean greater damages and removes the two year employment rule.
You can only rely on yourself and hopefully your private solicitor to fight your corner. Your union will not allocate a solicitor because usually they don't have one. They have a solicitor company on record to use when they need it. Which means never cos they don't want to spend any money.
Please don't listen to any other BS coming from the usual righteous suspects on here. They haven't been/are not in your shoes and haven't got a clue. Some have left schools/retired quite a long time ago.
@Penguin47 is correct because he's been/still going through the stuff.
Good luck to both of you.
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I agree about having / contacting a union. I'd advise that to any teacher.
There are statutory time limits for making a claim.
I know, having just been through both.
My union have an arrangment with a solictor specialising in PI claims. I provided lots of evidence, and they made an assessment of the case - including whether or not they were prepared to act on my behalf. They were great at explaining the law with regard to PI, and it is tougher to prove than you might think (unless, for example, it is pretty obvious.. like you've lost a finger...)
Likewise, union advised on possible discrimination claims and have supported this with.
To get to an employment tribunal you have to go via ACAS first for an attempt at reaching a settlement about the situation. This is called early conciliation and lasts about a month. This extends the time you have to make an ET claim by one month ... and that time is 3 months and 1 day after the discriminatory act.
Once you are in ET territory, you enter conciliation. This means you may still get a settlement in exchange for you withdrawing your claim.
Otherwise, you progress to ET and a judge decides.
Remember that ET is public and the outcomes (and reasons for judgements) are published online.
I am deliberately not sharing more details, or indicating the outcomes ... just outlining the process.
ACAS have a wealth of information on their website, and your union can assist.
It doesn't mean you will get the outcome you want for sure, but you can try if that is what you want.
Think carefully about what you do want - as none of these routes are stress free.
Not even if you "win" in financial terms.
There may be better ways of resolving the situation eg grievance, leaving...
What do YOU want from following this route?
PS Constructive Dismissal is very hard - but not impossible - to prove.
You have to have a case so serious that staying in the job is neigh on impossible... and resign with immediate effect. This is where we are with the civil servant/Patel issue. PLEASE do speak to your union before undertaking such a step.
You have previously posted that in
Sept 2017, that you had wanted to take out a grievance against your ex-boss but had resigned and were out of the 1 month limit anyway. (here)
Nov 2017,you started legal action against the same employer (here)
March 2018, you were still involved in the legal action (here)
Presumably all was concluded because by
Jan 2019, you had a new job, though it wasn't without it's troubles (here)
And now here we are in
March 2020, where you want to take legal action against your workplace and need some advice.
It seems to me you have rather more experience than most already.
I figured it's worth expanding on this by saying that you don't have to go through the Early Conciliation process and can otherwise go straight to tribunal. You may wish to do this if you have already attempted to resolve the issue or had union support to gain a settlement agreement, but failed to do so.
I'm assuming OP isn't just taking legal action outright and has otherwise attempted other methods of resolution.
Sorry - that is not generally true (there are some exceptions when you can bypass this). You MUST tell ACAS if you want to go to an ET, and should be offered early conciliation. That does not mean you have to discuss anything further - the respondent may refuse to engage in it too... but you need the certificate to say you tried.
Is this true? Which unions don't do this, as from adverts I got the impression they do get solicitors for you?
I think you misunderstand. I'm not saying you don't need to contact ACAS. You do.
However, as the link above states;
"You’ll be offered the option of 'early conciliation'. This free service can help you and your employer resolve the issue before you need to make a claim."
Early Conciliation is optional. You don't have to go through with it. It's advisable, sure, but it remains an option. If you choose not to go through with it, then they will still give you the certificate to make an Employment Tribunal claim.
I see you've edited, so the misunderstanding has been corrected.
LOL! Yes, I realised my post wasn't clear, hence my edit.
I think its WISE to enter Early Conciliation ... unless you want your "day in court" at all costs, it seems a reasonable way of resolving the issue that hasn't been achieved so far. You may not want your personal details relating to the disagreement eg health issues, to end up in the public domain - which they will if it gets to an ET.
Of course that goes both ways... there maybe things the respondent would rather were not in the public domain too.