When a workplace dispute cannot be resolved internally, it can be raised to an employment tribunal.
These matters usually revolve around serious or illegal matters. Or because both parties are too heavily involved to reach a mutual answer.
If you’ve been summoned to a hearing, you need to respond with an employment tribunal (ET3) form. That way, you can efficiently present your account–leading to the best outcome for you and your business.
Even if the committee is in your favour, you could still end up paying fees if you don’t follow the proper form process.
In this guide, we’ll look at ET3 forms, how to respond to one, and what happens if you fail to submit the form.
What is an ET3 form?
An ET3 form is a document used to respond to an employment tribunal claim.
The form doesn’t require substantial documents, accounts, or evidence. It simply needs to highlight your events to a case. These tribunal complaint forms are normally issued for cases involving discrimination and dismissal.
Different types of employment tribunal forms
There are different types of forms used during an employment tribunal hearing:
- ET1: An employee uses this to raise a claim.
- ET1A: Multiple employees use this to raise a joint claim.
- ET3: Employers use this to respond to a claim.
In most cases, workplace issues can be resolved through early conciliation via ACAS. It allows both parties to reach a mutual resolution without having to attend court. But, if the matter requires it, tribunals are the most appropriate way to resolve claims.
How do you respond to an ET3 form?
Once a claim has been raised, the employer will receive a response pack. This pack includes a copy of the ET1 submission, as well as a blank ET3 response form.
The employment tribunal response form should include:
- The case number sent from the committee.
- The employee’s job details, like start dates, work hours, notice period, etc.
- The employee’s wage details–before and after tax.
- Whether early conciliation through ACAS was used.
- Whether legal representation was used.
The ET3 response time limit is 28 days; and you can complete the tribunal form online or in print. Correspondence is normally sent within five days, with an outline of the setup for the hearing.
What happens after submitting an ET3 form?
After an ET3 form has been submitted, the next steps are crucial for both the employee and your business.
Once it’s received, the employment tribunal committee will:
- Take both cases into account.
- Call a preliminary hearing (allowing both parties to bring evidence).
- Estimate a timescale for the case (ranging from one day to several weeks).
- Pass a final decision for the case.
- Award one party or revisit the case through another hearing.
The losing party could be asked to pay compensation for any losses which occurred. Most compensation awards are set to a certain amount. But in more serious cases, like discrimination, this is uncapped.
Parties can also be awarded reinstatements, which can range from providing work entitlements to job restorations.
The committee might even ask the losing side to pay the overall legal expenses for both parties.
If an employer wins a case, they aren’t necessarily awarded for costs. Unless they’ve suffered business losses, or the claimant has acted unreasonably.
What happens if you fail to submit an ET3 form?
If you fail to submit an ET3 form, you may face a ‘default judgement’. This is when the committee automatically decides the claimant has won the case. A default judgement also applies if the form has been submitted late or incorrectly.
The time limit for sending tribunal forms doesn’t start until the response pack has been sent to you. And if you need additional time to submit it, you should request this in writing as soon as possible.
Get expert support on employment tribunal forms with Peninsula
Dealing with a workplace issue can be stressful for all parties. If mismanaged, you could end up damaging employee relations and business morale.
If you’ve been summoned to a tribunal hearing, contact Peninsula. We offer expert employment tribunal support from start to end–helping you protect your business.
We also have a 24/7 HR advice service which is available 365 days a year; with multi-lingual support and fully trained counsellors ready to help.
Want to find out more? Book a free consultation with one of our HR consultants. Call 0800 028 2420