Employment Tribunal Outcomes
Updated: Feb 16
Being involved in an employment tribunal claim can be a very stressful time, costly both in terms of time and money. One way of reducing the amount of worry is to get a realistic picture of what is likely to happen during the tribunal process and its possible outcome.
Figures in the latest Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications (SETA) compiled and released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have analysed information about the outcomes of tribunal claims and their likelihood.
These figures, and expert legal advice, could give businesses a valuable insight into how to proceed if they receive notification of a tribunal claim made against them.
Of all the claims issued, 58% were settled before they reached the tribunal stage: of those, 40% settled through ACAS and 18% privately. The use of day-to-day help by either the claimant or solicitor increased the likelihood of a settlement.
In general, discrimination cases were more likely to be withdrawn/dismissed or settled than go to a hearing. Conversely, breach of contract (fast track) and unauthorised deductions from wages cases were more likely than discrimination cases to go to a hearing.
The effect of Early Conciliation
There were differences in relation to the use of Early Conciliation:
if the claimant did not agree to Early Conciliation, the case was more likely to be withdrawn than go to hearing;
if both the claimant and employer agreed to Early Conciliation, the case was more likely to be settled than go to hearing.
The corollary of this is that spurning the opportunity for Early Conciliation is more likely to lead to a hearing, with the related costs in terms of time, stress and money, as well as the uncertainty regarding the outcome.
Size of the employer
The type of outcome differed according to the size of the employer. Cases with large employers (classed as 250 employees or more) were more likely to be withdrawn/dismissed than to go to hearing, when compared with smaller employers. Claimants were considerably more likely to be successful in cases involving small or medium-sized employers (up to 250 employees) than large employers.
Likelihood of claimant success
In the claimant data, 17% of all claims went to a full tribunal hearing. Overall, claimants at a full tribunal hearing were more likely to be unsuccessful than successful.
Analysis of the claimant data showed that:
The claimant was more likely to be successful in breach of contract (fast track) and unauthorised deductions from wages cases, compared with other jurisdictions. This applied to the analysis of both the claimant and employer data.
Both claimants and employers were more likely to have a successful outcome if they were represented at the hearing: the claimant was more likely to be successful if they had a representative at the hearing, whereas they were much less likely to be successful if the employer had a representative at the hearing.
According to the employer data, the claimant was more likely to be successful if a settlement offer had previously been made.