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What happens if I lose at an employment tribunal?

  • Blog
  • 24 February 2017

Running and developing a busy company, while following tight business laws and keeping your staff and clients happy, can be difficult and complex work – especially if you’re new to the business world. As a result, there can be those times when, for one reason or another, you’re taken to an employment tribunal.

So what happens if you lose at an employment tribunal?

What happens if I lose at an employment tribunal?

Cases where you can lose and tribunal orders

There are different types of cases that you might be involved in at an employment tribunal, which can result in you losing. These include cases involving:

  • Issues over discrimination
  • Issues over dismissal
  • Issues over pay

If you lose at a hearing, there are different things the tribunal might order you to do, depending on the case. For instance, you might be ordered to:

  • Give a dismissed employee their job back
  • Pay the expenses of any witnesses involved
  • Pay the claimant for damages or loss of earnings
  • Pay the claimant’s tribunal fees
  • Pay back the claimant’s state benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or income support, which they claimed while taking their case to the tribunal

Paying the claimant compensation

Being ordered to pay the claimant compensation – with interest, depending on when the payment is made – can be the most common outcome of losing at an employment tribunal. For instance, if you’re unable to give a dismissed employee their job back, such as if they have become ill or the position is no longer available in your company, you will be ordered to pay them compensation.

The tribunal usually works out the amount of compensation you must pay by considering the financial losses the claimant has suffered because of your actions. Interest is calculated from the day a legal decision has been made, but the UK Government says this doesn’t have to be paid if compensation is paid in full within 14 days. You can be taken to court and fined if you don’t pay an agreed amount of compensation.

There can be limits to the amount of compensation a tribunal awards a claimant. However, it’s important to mention that there are no limits in those cases involving discrimination. Examples of such cases include when an employee is paid less than another member of staff in the same role, or a particular person has been selected for redundancy without good reason.

Appealing the tribunal’s decision after losing a case

When you lose a case, you can ask the tribunal to reconsider the decision. Perhaps you feel the tribunal made a mistake in how it reached the decision, or new evidence has come to light since the hearing took place.

To appeal, the UK Government says you should write to the tribunal officer that has dealt with the case and explain, with good reason, why you want the decision to be reconsidered. You should do this within 14 days from when the decision was made. It’s important to mention that appealing will include a fee.

You can also appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) if you think the tribunal dealing with your case made a legal mistake during the hearing. Following this, you might be able to appeal to a higher court if you think there was a legal problem with EAT’s decision.

How we can help if you’re taken to an employment tribunal

If you’re taken to an employment tribunal, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Claims can be complex and costly, so it’s also important to make sure you have the right legal protection and are given the best advice.

At FSB, we aim to help with this by providing our members with an employment protection and law advice service. This gives you access to:

  • Experienced solicitors and barristers that can represent you at an employment tribunal
  • Employment tribunal insurance, which is legal representation to help defend you against a claim
  • Awards of compensation that have been agreed at a tribunal, covered by the insurance, with cover of up to £50,000 per claim

If you’d like to find out more about how this service can help you, please read the FSB Employment Protection page or get in touch with a member of our qualified team. 


FSB Employment Protection from FSB

A wealth of important information and advice, available online in-case you face dismissal or discrimination claims and employment tribunals.

Find out more