What is an Employment Tribunal (and how to avoid one)

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An employment tribunal is a public body set up to hear disputes between employers and employees. The most common type of disputes surround unfair dismissal cases, redundancy payments and employment discrimination. An employee can raise a case against their employer if they feel they have been treated unfairly, or have broken the law. Therefore the onus is on the employer to adopt the management practices necessary to avoid being taken to an employment tribunal by a disgruntled employee in the first instance. These practices are a combination of many different factors. As far as documentation is concerned, a current up to date contract, an accurate job description detailing the duties of the post holder and relevant policies and procedures are all that businesses require to ensure its compliance with employment law and understands its obligations. However, these are irrelevant if not used and utilised by management to manage their staff. Effective meetings, ie 1-1’s, team meetings and management meetings are all tools to be used to ensure employees know exactly what is expected of them. While these meetings are the perfect environment to instruct and inform employees, effective managers should also allow employees the opportunity to raise and discuss any concerns they may have about their employment and ability to perform their duties. Effective two-way communication can ensure that matters are dealt with as and when they occur. Failure to address issues allows them to fester and build resentment with the individual.

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