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 (just three months) this may not always be possible.Waiting for the outcome of your grievance or disciplinary hearing is not regarded by the employment tribunal as a good excuse for missing the deadline for a claim for unfair dismissal.

An unreasonable failure to follow a workplace procedure may amount to a 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 works both ways – if your employer unreasonably breaches the procedure, the tribunal can decide to increase your compensation by up to 25%.

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.

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