Do I need to go through workplace procedures before taking a tribunal case?

It is not compulsory to use a formal workplace procedure before bringing a claim to a tribunal. In fact, given the tight timetable in which to lodge a tribunal claim (three months from the date of the failure complained of) this may not always be possible.

However, if your failure to follow a workplace procedure amounts to an unreasonable breach of the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (PDF, 167KB), this can result, in some circumstances, in a cut to your compensation by up to 25%. However, this cuts both ways – if your employer unreasonably breaches the procedure, the tribunal can decide to increase your compensation by up to 25%.

Similarly, Acas would normally expect you to have tried to resolve your dispute using your employer’s grievance procedure before attempting Acas early conciliation – but not if this means that you risk missing the deadline for your employment tribunal claim.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.