The number of covid related tribunals is rising. People are claiming unfair dismissal because of covid related redundancy, discrimination or that they were dismissed because of whistleblowing.
Yes, there are long delays in the system but you cannot ignore the claim when it arrives.
You must comply with the timetable set out in the employment tribunal correspondence as otherwise the tribunal will issue a default judgement and you will only have a very limited ability to participate in the hearing
You should check the ET1 to make sure it is valid, does the employee have at least 2 years service for an unfair dismissal claim? Is the person raising the claim an employee or subcontractor? Do they have an ACAS preclaim conciliation certificate allowing the employee to raise the claim. If all these conditions have been satisfied start getting together your response to prepare the ET3 and submit on time you can use the Gov.uk website to do this electronically.
Unfair dismissal claims are limited to £88,000 or 1 years wages whichever is the lower
Discrimination and whistleblowing claims do not need 2 years service and could give rise to potentially unlimited damages these tend to be the ones that hit the newspapers. As an employer you can be served an interim relief order for a whistleblowing claim . The employee can ask the tribunal if the judge believes there is a chance of success to order the employer to continue to pay their salary and benefits until the hearing takes place. The employee wont get it back even if they win!, Given the delays in the system this can be incredibly expensive.
Don’t be stressed when you receive a claim there are things you must and should do in responding .