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Hi, I am (unfortunately) having to go to through an employment tribunal process against my present employer. I had an initial case management discussion meeting (CMD) a few months ago.

 

At that meeting my employer's legal representative stated that my employer intended to call several witnesses. The names of these witnesses were not listed in the CMD agenda - even though I had openly listed the names and number of my potential witnesses - and I had expected the employer's side to do the same thing for the CMD meeting. My employer's legal representative stated at the CMD that they (the employer's legal rep) didn't know the names of witnesses, just the number to be called.

 

I have since emailed my employer's internal Legal section several times requesting a list of witnesses names. My employer's Legal section has not even acknowledged receipt of my email requests let alone supply me with the list of names.

 

This refusal to name their witnesses has the potential to weaken my case. Indeed one or two employees which I have sounded out as potential witnesses on my side have instead bailed out (which is unfortunately somewhat understandable in these days of job cuts) explaining that they were doing so because they might actually be called as witnesses on behalf of my employer (which is a lot less easier to forgive I must say!).

 

I'm not interested in recriminations against any of my co-workers who may actually stand as a witness for the employer (I really don't have the enery left for it apart from anything else). However I do feel that I should be entitled to know who may have been 'bagged' for the other side!

 

Does anyone know if I do have a right to know who these employer-side witnesses are and if so, can I make my employer disclose this list of witnesses asap?

 

Any advice would be most welcome.

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You don't unfortunately have the right to know until witness statements are exchanged, but usually names come out during the CMD as the number of witnesses is key to determining how long the hearing will be. They are allowed to give just numbers and not names at this stage, though.

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I would imagine that you have a pretty good idea of who they will call and what they will say though? There might be an odd surprise when you see the statements, but you will have at least a week before the tribunal hearing to prepare questions for them.


I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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Hi, the respondent has now supplied the names of their witnesses. At our initial CMD meeting (several months ago) one of the agenda items was a request for both sides to tell the employment judge how many witnesses they were calling and who they were. I fulfilled that requirement but the respondent did not.

 

I recently informed the respondent that I would request an order from the tribunal instructing them to supply me with that information - hence I am now in receipt of the list. One or two witnesses I thought might be on the list aren't there. One or two I didn't expect are on there i.e. a couple of low level drones from IT. Worth knowing the names - I feel more confident of a positive result at the ET with every passing day.

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I think it is a very positive thing that you have kept to the timeline that the tribunal has set, everytime your employer doesnt, points go into your court as far as the tribunal is concerned.


I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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Hi,

 

could anyone give me some soundings on this - it would be very helpful?

 

I have an ET hearing due in several months time (with my present employer as respondent). A few weeks ago I was invited (at very short notice) to a 1-2-1 meeting with someone from HR. Ostensibly the meeting was about work in general.

 

Instead, in the meeting itself I was challenged about working on my ET claim during work-time. Not a problem, I have been very careful to keep my ET activities outside of my working day.

 

Later the same day, HR sent me an email containing a paragraph (relating to the meeting) which they were going to insert into an email to our Legal section.The paragraph looked innocent enough as far as it went and initially I didn't raise any objections to it. I did ask to be copied into the email that was to be sent to the Legal section (so that I could see it in context).

 

By the next morning I had still not recieved a cc'd copy of the email due to be sent to Legal from HR.

 

Instead I did have another look at the email that HR had sent to me the previous day. Whilst I had paid most attention to the paragraph to be used in the email from HR to Legal I had not read all the blurb that sat around it (it was a busy day in the office!). I felt sick.

 

Taken as a whole, the HR email sent to me suggested that the HR officer and I had discussed my ET in detail (we hadn't) and that I had agreed not to use any documents from the workplace as supporting evidence in my ET (I hadn't discussed such a thing, let alone agreed to anything - it is a preposterous notion in any case!). I would not have discussed details of my ET action against my employer with anyone else other than one of their assigned legal representatives - a HR officer is not a legal representative.

 

I emailed the HR officer with my concerns and asked to see all the emails relating to this issue. HR have simply referred me to our Legal section. (It turns out Legal put HR up to this ruse in the first place). Legal in turn mentioned LLP and have ignored all my requests for more information/dialogue on the matter.

 

This behaviour cannot be legal can it? At the very least there is some form of misrepresentation going on here - the conversations referred to simply did not take place! Surely, at least I am entitled to see these emails? Or is my employer simply trying to rattle my cage a bit more before the ET hearing?

 

Any thoughts would be most welcome.

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Can't help that much but would have thought it precarious that they initiate the 1-2-1 and discuss an ET with you. Secondly I would have expexcted them to have you sign something with regards to what was 'discussed' in the meeting especially as an ET was discussed. Would think an ET would be concerned that this took place between just you an a HR officer, would normally expect two company reps like one HR and one Legal and yourself and a rep if you wanted it.

 

With regards to the email would think you can request all these comms via data protection\SAR reques. Would personally request politely and if not would raise another greivamce and then a formal data request

 

Good luck

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Thanks transient,

 

I'm concerned that my original OK to the paragraph (that HR were going to insert into their email to Legal) could now be twisted/presented by my employer as a 'signed' agreement so that I cannot use any of my contemporaneous work related emails/documents as evidence to support my claim! (And this is a discussion that never happened anyway).

 

Good point about there being only one officer from HR. Maybe she over-stepped her authority and now this issue/behaviour is not something that my employer would wish to see discussed at an ET. That might go some way to explaining their reticence?

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Well if you are concerned that your confirmation via email constitutes agreement I would email back stating you misread the email and now you have reread it clarify your position and with succi points what you agree and disagree with. Also reference that you are disappointed that this meeting was with regards to a 1-2-1 and you felt uncomfortabke that the impending ET was brought up during this. Was you offered at any point for a rep or work colleague to join you? It is not the norm for this for a 1-2-1 and I bet they didn't as it sounded like a normal 1-2-1

 

If they didn't I would mentin this and again express you felt the need but again was 'unsure of your positon\rights'

 

One thing I would categorically do is state in the email that any discussion in the future regarding yourr ET is not to take place over work email and only via correspondance to your home address so as to keep the boundaries and not muddy the waters again if they want to talk to you formally they are to post a meeting request to your home address and you confirm accordingly

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Hi,

 

casting through these threads and posts it strikes me that many of the viewers and members have suffered at the hands of employers and their legal representatives.

 

I have only gone a short way into my own ET process and yet already I have been subject to a number of underhand tactics which I feel are designed to undermine and unsettle me. In modern parlance 'I'm on a journey' - if so, then it feels like a slow descent into some sort of psychological hell.

 

Many employers and their legal representatives have probably trod this path many times, but for the unitiated individual seeking redress this can be a strange land indeed.

 

I'm beginning to get the impression that there are many old tricks of the trade which are routinely pulled on whose who are new to all of this. I'd be interested to see if we can draw upon our own experiences and offer up some short examples of these sly tricks, hopefully to support/warn those that will come after us?

 

I can offer up this old chestnut to get the ball rolling....

  • The Friday afternoon email. Talking to one or two people from my own company who have taken our employer to ET, this tactic is as old as the hills. The respondent's side will send you an email late on a Friday afternoon. The content of the email may be contentious and upsetting etc; The timing is such that you will not be able to contact someone from the respondent's side until Monday morning - leaving you to fret and worry about it all week-end, which is one reason why it was sent to you at that particular time. Nowadays, when I recieve a Friday afternoon email, I leave it unopened until Monday morning and seek to have a relaxing week-end instead.

I hope there can be some useful additions to this thread. After all, they do say hindsight is a wonderful thing!

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Thanks again transient,

 

in my work I sometimes carry out ad-hoc pieces of work and this is what I thought I was going to have a meeting about. So, no warning of the content and they have subsequently refused to show me any of the related paperwork.

 

The boundaries idea is really helpful - I shall include it in my next email to the respondent.

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Hi SL, I would just like to add that in recent experience, the 'Friday Afernoon Email' is now commonly used by a lot of organisations. I have a few issues at present I am dealing with and for the last 3 or 4 Friday afternoons, the emails have been coming in regular as clockwork, and yes, you are right, these emails usually do leave me fretting all weekend.

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Did they ask if you want to be accompanied when they started talking about the ET? Apologies for grammar and spelling posting via phone

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Hi, no at all. We didn't talk about my ET other than the HR officer trying to establish whether I had worked on it in my own time or the firm's time. The officer then seems to have morphed the story of that discussion into an non-existent one focussing on the details of my ET. I challenged that version of course - but my employer won't (re)engage on the matter.

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Hi, no at all. We didn't talk about my ET other than the HR officer trying to establish whether I had worked on it in my own time or the firm's time. The officer then seems to have morphed the story of that discussion into an non-existent one focussing on the details of my ET. I challenged that version of course - but my employer won't (re)engage on the matter.

 

Sounds to me as if they were on a fishing expedition because if they had evidence that you had researched for the ET on works time then they wouldn't need to have called you in to "establish" if you had

Lesson learned.... Don't go into a meeting without a union rep/trusted colleague with you and if they hoodwink you into a 1 2 1 meeting again to try and catch you out, just say " I wish to terminate this meeting as I need to obtain advice"


Gbarbm

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In the tribunal process you can use any relevant workplace documents that you consider will assist you to conduct your case.

Even if you were to sign an agreement not to use them in blood this wouldn't prevent you from changing your mind and using them anyway and Legal will know this.

These silly mind are intended to distract you from the proper focus on your claim.

 

To draw a line under this you could send an email to the HR person (CC'ing Legal) outlining what you've said on this thread;

i.e. On (date) I was invited to a meeting with you on (date).

At that meeting we discussed........and at one point you asked if/suggested that I had been working on my ET claim during working hours. I answered...............

Later that day................etc..(tell the whole story)

 

You could end with something like:

For the avoidance of doubt, I will use any relevant workplace documents that I feel will assist me to conduct my Tribunal case.

 

If either HR or Legal attempt to re-engage on this subject after you send it simply refer them to this email.

 

Question:

Have you already had the disclosure of documents stage of the Tribunal process?

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Thanks mariefab, your advice is a great comfort. We haven't exchanged lists yet - in fact the respondent is taking so long to pprovide me with documents we have well past the dates agreed at the CMD meeting.

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Hi could anyone offer me some advice on this issue please?

 

I had a CMD hearing a fair few months ago. At the time I was keen to get a hearing date asap (of course). Counsel for my employer pitched quite firmly for a much later date. The Employment Judge (EJ) at CMD accepted the argument for a later date and suggested a month at the end of the year. The EJ also asked us to consider the possibility of (an earlier) judicial mediation (JM) hearing. The EJ advised us on the earliest week available for the JM (next week) - The EJ also explained that both sides have to request a JM for it to happen.

 

Neither side subsequently requested a JM meeting.

 

Only a couple of weeks ago the tribunal service sent through their minutes of the CMD meeting. Unfortunately, instead of the later agreed date for the full hearing, the tribunal service notes state that the full hearing will happen at the earlier date (next week!!!) which had been offered up as the JM meeting date. As soon as I recieved these notes I emailed the tribunal service to point out the error. I have not heard back from the tribunal service on this yet.

 

I am not yet ready for such a full hearing as I had been working towards the later date.

 

My employers have not supplied me with some of the requested documents I need for my case.

 

They have missed the deadlines agreed by their Counsel at the CMD meeting and they have ignored my suggested revised timetable schedule to exchange lists, bundle, witness statements. A few weeks ago I requested an order from the tribunal service for disclosure of the documents and an instruction to my employer to adhere to a revised timetable. ( I haven't heard back on that request yet)

 

What my employer has now done is to, unilaterally, produce a bundle just a few days before the (erroneously) proposed hearing date (next Monday!!!), without any input from me, and tell me that they are ready to go for that earlier date.

 

What the heck am I to do? I don't have all the documents I need, we have not exhanged lists, I have had no input into the bundle, I have not seen any witness statements from the other side (of course), let alone draft up my own witness statement.

 

I simply want the hearing to be heard at the agreed time - later in the year. To my mind I am seeking only what was agreed at the CMD hearing. However, given that the trbunal service have booked in a full hearing how would they view such a request?

 

I can see where the mistake has been made - and I know the tribunal service is very overstretched and doing the best they can. But this is really worrying me now. Any advice would be gratifying.

Edited by SweetLorraine

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Phone the tribunal, you'll have an answer sooner.

 

The minutes of mine had a wrong date too, my CMD took place on the 8th may, they said i had to get my Schedule of Loss to the respondents solicitor by the 29th April, when it should be the 29th May. Just a quick phone call could sort this out for you.


I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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Thanks Ibuk,

 

I contacted them again today.. The support staff in the tribunal service centre are so great. But I see that they are so stressed out and pulled in so many different directions that they struggle to keep on top of things. Clearly they are so because I believe they care and are trying to help us through the processes, but they can only do so much.

 

There may have been a genuine misunderstanding along the line here. It won't do me any good to point a finger at anyone involved in the process of course.

Edited by SweetLorraine

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Exactly, but you need to make sure that your facts are correct so you can continue to meet the required time lines.


I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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I'm at a complete loss here,

 

just heard back from the Tribunal Service that it has been decided that as I had been notified of the date for the hearing (only!) four weeks ago it should go ahead next week; even though I came away from the CMD hearing eight months ago believing I'd agreed to a date in October 2012.

 

I did write to the Tribunal as soon as I recieved their belated notes explaining that I believed it was in October..

 

My employer (the respondent) seem to have geared up for the May date while I was waiting for confirmation (or otherwise) from the Tribunal Service about the October date. (There is a lesson in there perhaps!).

 

I'm not adequately prepared, and we haven't sorted out the bundle or exchanged witness statements.

 

Any ideas? I'm out of them!

 

I think I need to get out and get some fresh air.

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Hi,

 

I couldn't make the original date for my ET hearing (I was too ill to attend) and it has been rescheduled.

 

For the original hearing the respondent produced a bundle with no input from me and the Tribunal panel chose (in my absence) to spend a day or so reading the respondent's bundle and they also conducted case management discussions with the respondent.

 

I have asked that the bundle now be 'recast' and repaginated so that my documentary evidence can be included in the bundle in a clear chronological manner - the respondent has replied that this cannot be done because the bundle has been read by the Tribunal panel.

 

I believe that this is respondent nonsense. But what can I do to rectify this and get my evidence in the bundle in an orderly fashion?

 

I believe that I can produce an alternative bundle myself and turn up on the day with it (plus copies) - but I'd rather get it resolved before the hearing date. If anyone has any advice on how I can sort this out it would be most helpful.

 

I also notice that the rescheduled hearing is deemed to be already part-heard even though I wasn't there. Is this something I should be concerned about?

 

I have gone down to the Tribunal's offices and asked for any minutes relating to this part-hearing and the Tribunal service refused to give me anything relating to that part-hearing. Is there a form of words I should have used besides "could I have the minutes/notes from that part-hearing relating to my claim please?" Again, is this something I should be concerned about?

 

Any advise is most welcome.

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Hi,

 

just a quick query - what are the sections I should expect to see in a bundle?

 

 

  • Firstly I would expect to see the pleadings (ET1, ET3, additional info.)
  • Then I would expect to see the documentary evidence in chief for both sides.

Separately from the bundle I would expect to see another file with all the legal, internal policy and guideline documents which both sides may use.

 

Have I missed anything?

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