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Employment Tribunal – Respondent skewed my documents for the bundle, please help!

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Disability discrimination claim.

 

The Respondent is producing the bundle. I have sent them my index of documents with each document very efficiently named and dated for clarity, relevancy and easy navigation.

 

The Respondent completely renamed all of my documents within the index to make themselves sound good and to make my documents difficult to find seem extremely confusing, sound irrelevant and also to contain repetitive document names for less clarity and greater confusion. Some of the names of documents they’ve renamed do not reflect the contents of the documents in any way whatsoever and even I can’t navigate between the documents due to misleading names in the index – it will be even worse for the judge who will not be as familiar with my documents as I am.

 

The Respondent also changed some of the dates, merged separate unrelated documents to reduce impact and deliberately put them in an incorrect order, which does not accurately reflect events. For instance, if I quickly need to find my x-ray taken at A&E I would not be able to do so with the way they altered the bundle as the Respondent merged my x-ray with a different document and this particular x-ray is not even listed on the Index of documents. This is wrong. You would really have to hop around the bundle.

 

Most important documents have been put to the back of the bundle, some have been removed. The Respondent went out of their way to make it impossible to get to my documents while left their own very well named and easy to navigate between. The Respondent even renamed documents to make themselves look good and the Claimant look bad. They even changed words like “Medicines” to “Drugs”. The Respondent totally skewed it.

 

Is the Respondent allowed to rename the documents listed in the Index of Documents I submitted and make such changes for deliberate misrepresentation?

 

Also, is the Respondent allowed to remove documents?

 

The Respondent has missed the deadline for the bundle by several weeks now, added additional documents as to what was on their list of documents and also presented the bundle to me (Claimant) by email (in digital form). Can they do this? – The order says it has to be binded.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Best regards x

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The point about a bundle is that it must be agreed between the parties. If it isn't, then tell the Respondent why you disagree and ask them to change it. Likewise, if documents are enclosed which were not agreed between you then object to them being included.

 

The Respondent can't remove documents that have been agreed at disclosure stage. They can object providing they tell you why they think they should be omitted, but if you insist then they should be in there and they can object at the hearing if they believe they are irrelevant and you refer to them during the hearing. Once again you need to write and ask them to insert them.

 

Keep copies of communication and bring the matter to the attention of the Tribunal if they won't remove the additional content. The copies for the hearing will have to be bound - I can't see the Judge accepting a sheaf of loose papers!


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The Respondent may try all manner of tricks to shape/limit your case against them. Messing around with the content of the bundle is a familiar practise/tactic to unsettle you and your case before it reaches the hearing. (IMHO the Tribunal does not give enough protection to claimants when it comes to such practices by the Respondent).

 

You could take a view that you must have got them rattled if they are pulling such tricks. That may be so, but it is best that you tackle this head on now so that you can present your case as best you can at the hearing. All the Tribunal Panel may know about you and your case beforehand may be drawn from the witness statements and the supporting documentation in the bundle.

 

This blog might help you a little. http://etclaims.co.uk/tag/bundle/

 

Good luck and stay in touch with this forum and we will try to help you through this.

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As SW says, it's an AGREED Bundle PRODUCED BY the Respondent.

 

Broadly speaking it should be in chronological order. Document titles don't matter too much - more often than not they will have very simple headings, eg "Letter from Claimant to X of Respondent". Also, what a layperson considers to be a logical order may differ to what a solicitor would produce.

 

Medical records should be in a separate section headed "Medical/Disability Evidence" or something along those lines.

 

They can only remove disclosure which isn't relevant, but you should ask for them to add another section at the back called "Disputed Documents".

 

What specifically have they done that you disagree with?

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Hello, and thank you for your responses, which are very helpful.

 

Similarly to how Becky (becky2585) suggested I submitted my List of Documents with medical/disability records listed in chronological order in a separate section titled "Medical". The Respondent deleted that section and scattered the medical records over the "Employment Matter" section, even though some of the medical records do not relate to the employment matter but relate to the case.

 

They refused to include the documents they did not want to include, and it seems there is nothing I can do about this as the Tribunal simply doesn't respond.

 

One of the documents they refused to include is a copy of an email they sent me under the subject line of "Without Prejudice Save as to Costs" which contains content threatening me to withdraw my claim by close of business of that day. The email contains no evidence of an attempt to settle the claim, it was just a threat, hence I wanted to include it.

 

The deadline for the bundle was weeks ago, I only have a digital version of the bundle they sent me about a week ago, and it is in utter mess - took me several days to decipher it and locate parts of my documents. They emailed me additional documents yesterday that they are adding to the bundle. Can I object to this? Do I write to the Tribunal? And what happens if the Tribunal does not respond?

 

Records that were supposed to be representing one event or one incident are broken up and their consecutive parts merged with other documents, which makes it impossible to locate them in the bundle. Record description which were precise and short included in my List of Documents were changed to vague descriptions like "Patient Notes" - unclear what hospital, what content of the notes, or who wrote them. Document dates have been changed (from correct to incorrect), so with duplicate vague descriptions and incorrect dates, finding docs is impossible.

 

Then there are MAJOR pagination errors. The bundle goes from page 1 to 52, then jumps to 107, etc... This madness goes on all the way through the bundle and funny enough, it only affects my documents in a bad way, not the respondent's. For example; the first half of the document sits on page 52, and the second half (the important half) on page 53, but because after page 52 you get page 107, page 53 is not seen or easily found.

 

It is my opinion this was done deliberately.

 

My predicament is that I don't know what to do about this, the tribunal aren't very responsive. The hearing is in a month and the bundle is in total shambles, done by a Respondent who is not handling this reasonably or fairly.

 

Help please :(

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Taking your points in turn:

 

It is normal practice to put everything in chronological order. Creating a separate medical section is a nice idea but it is not the usual way of doing things. Most solicitors would put documents provided by a Litigant in Person in chronological order without giving it a second thought. If you strongly believe that having a separate medical section would make things significantly easier for the Tribunal, then write to the Respondent and ask for this, with an explanation why.

 

The email asking you to withdraw the case is not relevant to your claim. The Tribunal only decides on the merits of your legal claim; it does not decide whether or not the employer acted nicely. Realistically the email is also privileged. I would let this one go.

 

It is probably not realistic to expect the Respondent to be barred from adding new documents if you still have time until Tribunal.

 

I do not see why there is an issue with the document descriptions. It seems to me that "Patient Notes" is an accurate description of the document. You would not normally put details such as the name of the hospital and name of the doctor in the index. If the Tribunal wants this information it can simply turn to the document and have a look. You could however ask the Respondent to use a description like "Patient notes dated dd/mm/yy" or "Patient notes concerning broken leg" if that short addition genuinely adds something to the index.

 

Of course the wrong pagination should be fixed.

 

The Tribunal simply will not get involved in arguments about the bundle. At this stage the Tribunal simply does not have enough knowledge about the detail of the bundle to start making decisions about what it should contain. You will not make friends by writing to the Tribunal about this. You are supposed to agree the bundle directly with the other side.

 

The usual course of action would be to write a clear letter to the Respondent (not to the Tribunal) setting out exactly what you want changed with the bundle. When agreement is reached, ask them to provide a complete, proper and bound copy of the bundle to you in accordance with the Tribunal's order. If it is genuinely impossible to reach agreement you bring several copies of a disputed documents bundle to the Tribunal and the dispute will be dealt with at the start of the hearing.

 

Do not let all of your energy get consumed arguing about the bundle. You need to focus on how you are going to use the information in the bundle at the hearing to win your claim. Ultimately none of this really matters to the legal merits of your case.


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The documents in the bundle are expected to be laid out in a chronological order and paginated. There aren't meant to too many sections (i.e. just several rather than many). And the bundle is meant to be agreed between the parties. Quite what the Tribunal would do if the bundle is not agreed has never been clear to me. (I too had problems with the Respondent and their handling of the bundle and I wrote to the Tribunal many times in the run up to the hearing. The Tribunal did not reply once).

 

So, you have a month - that gives you enough time.

 

So, let's make the best of a (seemingly) bad job.

 

Firstly, the pagination sounds pretty rubbish - you should raise this with the Respondent. Each page should be numbered, as opposed to each document/report.

 

Look again at how the Respondent has arranged the latest version of the bundle? They may have split up your document 'packages' across the main sections - but even so have they done that in a chronological order? If so, that is OK - it is an accepted way of setting out the bundle.

 

Your witness statement would be expected to flow on a chronological manner as you describe the sequence of events that befell you. It would follow that some/most of the supporting documentation in the bundle would follow in a similar time/sequential order.

 

The Respondent is responsible for producing six bound 'hard' copies of the bundle ahead of the hearing, one for you, one for the Respondent, one for each of the three Tribunal panel members, and one for witnesses to refer to. as far as I know the Respondent's should send you a hard copy of all the documents with an index page seven days before the hearing.

 

Either you or the Respondent can go adding documents to the bundle right up until the hearing. Happens a lot I believe. So that isn't considered an issue - it is seen as an acceptable practice. If you or the Respondent add papers on the morning of the hearing the other side can ask for time, a small adjournment, to view them (something I didn't know back then!). The Panel may wish to know why such documents weren't added earlier.

 

Slotting in documents in the correct chronological order to an already indexed printed bundle is fairly straightforward - if an additional page falls between pages 5 and 6 it is simply numbered/labelled as 5a.

 

Though the Respondent may be responsible for producing the bundle that does not give them the right to decide what you can and can't include in the bundle. However if they do flatly refuse to include documents which you would wish to include in the bundle you can always turn up at the hearing with six copies of all the excluded documents (each page numbered perhaps as to where they would sit in the bundle?) and ask the Panel's permission to include such documents.

 

From what I understand badly prepared/numbered bundles and either side turning up at the hearing with loads of documents to include in the bundle are two things that really cheese off a Tribunal Panel. So obviously it is in your interests to get as many documents as you need into the bundle beforehand, as this would less for you to copy and ask to be included on the day of the hearing.

 

You mention that document dates have been changed - how so? For example if an email/report was sent out on the 9th of June 2012 and that can be clearly seen on the email/document how are the Respondent's changing those dates?

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Hi,

 

Thank you very much for your comprehensive responses. I have very much taken them on board. :)

 

@SweetLorain To answer your question, yes. The dates were changes with a difference anywhere between one day and several months. I checked my dates that I had submitted, they were correct, the new ones they changed to aren’t.

 

For example, I submitted my “Statement of Facts” many months ago now, and that precise date I included in my list of documents – Respondent received all my documents throughout our entire communication either by email or fax, there was no opportunity for it to get lost in the post. They’ve put the date of this month (September 2013), which by scanning through the Index list implies I submitted it just now (very late!).

 

The “Hospital Discharge Summary” date was changed to hospital admission date, which on the Index List implies I was in hospital for one day, rather than two weeks.

Some dates were changed by just one day but with duplicate/identical and vague document descriptions and bonkers pagination that’s all you need not to be able to locate a document.

My concern is that the Judge may just scan through the Index List of docs and not really go into the Bundle. And the Index List is currently misrepresenting facts.

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regarding the email...could you ask it to be included, as you wish to apply for costs as they have been malicious, which is one reason for costs to be awarded.

 

Regarding the judge skimming the evidence, I wouldn't worry to much, it's down to you to make your case and every thing obvious .

 

Just my opinion.

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By all means ask them to change the index description to something like "Hospital Discharge Summary covering dd/mm/yy to dd/mm/yy", that sounds sensible.

 

The key point is that you need to ask the Respondent directly, you cannot do it through the Tribunal.


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Hi again BlueLittleLady,

 

once you have a fairly agreeable bundle you may want to consider improving the bundle's relevance to your witness statement (and vice versa).

 

Assuming that both the bundle and your witness statement move forward in (some sort of) chronological order you can simply insert (bundle) page reference numbers into your witness statement as you go along. You can even draw attention to specific paragraphs in a (bundle) page if you like (i.e. [Page 63, Paragraphs 4 and 5]).

 

Do you begin to see that it doesn't wholly matter how the Respondent titles your documentary evidence and where it all sits in the bundle, you can still refer to the specific content of those documents in your witness statement by means of bundle page reference numbers.

 

It may also help to keep your witness statement more succinct, an easier read for the Panel that flows along with the story you wish to relate. Instead of chunky, clunky quotes from emails etc; in your witness statement you can simply refer the witness statement readers (i.e. the Panel) to the document in the bundle which carries that quote.

 

This helps to strengthen your statement by drawing the Panel's attention to specific supporting documentary evidence in the bundle. It may also help strengthen your own performance in the hearing (here is what I say and here is the documentary evidence to back that up). It may also add to the clarity of your claim - which may help both you and the Panel.

Edited by SweetLorraine

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I agree entirely.

 

The key point to appreciate is that the Tribunal is unlikely to flick through the bundle or use it as an independent source of evidence. You must assume that the Tribunal will only look at the documents specifically drawn to their attention in your witness statement. When you are giving evidence and refer to a document, make sure you give the Tribunal enough time to look at the document along with you. Assume that the Tribunal will only read the sections of those documents specifically pointed out to them, and will only draw conclusions from those documents you specifically suggest to them.


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I would suggest you create your own Index pointing out exactly where the hospital and medical notes can be found for ease of eference. Insist your index be added.

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Hi everyone,

 

I just wanted to update you on what happened so far. The Tribunal told me to list everything that was wrong with the bundle, i.e. missing documents, etc.. I did it and sent it to the tribunal. Since I sent the list to the Tribunal I found more documents missing! - It's like every time I go through the bundle it I discover something new that's wrong in it.

 

So far Respondent failed to meet most of their orders.

 

The Tribunal listed a preliminary hearing which aims to address these issues, which I was very happy with.

 

However, Respondent sent an application to vacate the hearing or alternatively have the hearing undertaken by phone. Do you know if I can object to this being done over the phone? - I would prefer to have this in person as has been initially set by the Tribunal.

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You can object- do it in writing as soon as possible, with your reasons, and copy it to the other party. However, the tribunal will make up its own mind, so don't spend too much time stressing out about it.

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I have to produce witness statements for Employment Tribunal in relation to my disability discrimination claim. However, former colleagues do not want to provide witnesses statements as they are worried they’ll lose their jobs or their visas will not be renewed (some employees are foreign nationals).

 

I have evidence from one of the colleagues where he actually explains that he is worried for losing his job and his visa and therefore he does not want to give a witness statement. However if I present this as evidence and reveal who this person is to the former employer, his entire life could get ruined (his family not long ago had a child as well). It would be very inconsiderate of me to present this as evidence. :(

 

My question to you is; is there any way I could present evidence that an employee is scared to give a witness statement to the judge alone and not the respondent?

 

If you can please advise me what the options are, if any.

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You would want a right of reply to any evidence about you wouldn't you?

 

Same for them. It's only fair.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I can't see a way round it - most judges wouldn't even consider it as evidence.

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I think you have to list all documents you have under disclosure.........even if not in your favour.

 

(I'm sure some docs get lost or forgotten though.. wink,,wink)

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Hello there.

 

I've merged your latest thread with a recent one, I think it will help the advisers here.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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My question to you is; is there any way I could present evidence that an employee is scared to give a witness statement to the judge alone and not the respondent?

 

If you can please advise me what the options are, if any.

 

There is case law where a party was allowed to present evidence to the tribunal only. It was to do with a subject of great sensitivity and confidentiality (to do with witness protection). There is no harm in applying for it, but unlikely to succeed if there is no threat to the witness, or national security issues. In fact, if this person is working here illegally, I doubt he or she would be considered a credible witness. It is the employer's responsibilty to ensure they are eligible to work in the UK. It would almost certainly fail under the principle of public interest, where the public are entitled to avail themselves of the details in a public court.

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Hi,

 

I have a random question for you.

 

I have submitted my ET1 claim a while ago. I received legal advice from Disability Law Service, who looked at my employment contract. I do not fully understand my employment contract as it's written in very complex language.

 

The hearing is due in about a week.

 

I had another independent person look at my employment contract and it turns out I am owned one month's pay minus one week!! (I wasn't aware of this due to complexity of the contract, and it was clearly missed by the Disability Law Centre people).

 

This is well out of the 3-month time limit.

 

Is there a way I can amend my claim? - I mean, its not really fair that i was badly advised. And it's a shame to miss out on a months pay.

 

Please let me know if anything can be done. :(

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Hello there.

 

I know you think this is a separate question, but I think the forum guys would prefer to have at least some of the history from one of your previous threads.

 

Merging with one of the recent ones.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi, just to clarify, the person works legally, but they rely on the employer to get the visa.

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Hi, just to clarify, the person works legally, but they rely on the employer to get the visa.

 

Hello again. I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you're referring to here?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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