Industrial tribunals

To make a claim to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal, in most circumstances employees will need to have worked continuously for the organisation for one year. There are other types of claim, for example regarding unpaid wages, holiday entitlements or discrimination, which do not require one year's continuous service.

Industrial tribunals expect employers to make decisions on discipline and dismissal which are fair and reasonable.  They will examine whether the LRA Code of Practice was followed when they are hearing cases.

If an employee is dismissed, for example, they may make a complaint to an industrial tribunal if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed.  The employer must show the reason for the dismissal and that it was a potentially fair reason. The tribunal will decide whether the dismissal was procedurally and substantively fair or unfair.  The tribunal will also take into account the size and administrative resources of the employer when deciding whether they acted reasonably or unreasonably. The tribunal will also take account of the guidance given in the Code (see Annexes A and B of the Code) and consider how far the Code has been followed.  They may adjust any award of compensation up or down by 50% for failure by either party to follow the relevant steps set out in the LRA’s Code of Practice.

The Office of the Industrial Tribunal and Fair Employment Tribunal (OITFET) has booklets explaining tribunal procedures.  Copies are also available from Job and Benefits Offices, Citizens Advice Bureau and Law Centres.

Last updated: 30 May 2019