Options for resolving different types of employment disputes

Dealing with an employment dispute regardless of whether it relates to unfair dismissal, discrimination case or any other issue, can be stressful. However, knowing what your options are can be both time-saving and helpful.

We outline the best way to manage and deal with different types of employment disputes – including bullying and discrimination disputes, and unfair dismissal cases. We also explain how using alternative dispute resolution in a dispute can be of benefit.

Click on a link to that section:

Here are the common types of bullying cases in the workplace and what to do if you feel you’re being bullied at work.

Find out what is classed as discrimination and what you can do if you feel you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace.

Read our guide to what is classed as a fair dismissal and your options if you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed.

Read how using methods of alternative dispute resolution can benefit you.

Cases of bullying in the workplace

According to a recent study, almost 25% of employees in the UK feel they have been bullied at work.

If you believe you are experiencing bullying at work, in the first instance try and resolve the dispute through communication, following the procedures set out by your employer, although this may be difficult. If you feel able to do so – speak to your line manager, HR department, or trade union representative. The involvement of a third party may ensure the issue is dealt with in the calmest manner for you.

However, if these options are not successful or you do not feel that direct contact would be appropriate for your situation, you may be able to reach conciliation through other methods. Depending on the nature of your case, it might be possible to use methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration in an employment dispute. ADR can provide a safe, controlled environment for you to discuss the issue. You can find out more about using alternative dispute resolution in employment disputes here.

Should the methods of alternative dispute resolution be unsuccessful, it may be necessary to go to a tribunal. Giambrone & Partners  can help you to determine which method would be better for your situation.

Find out more about making a workplace bullying claim here.

Discrimination disputes

It is important to understand when harassment or bullying becomes discrimination. By law, discrimination is when any one or more of the protected characteristics, listed below, have been injured or impinged:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

In the context of the workplace, discrimination refers to discriminatory behaviour made by an employer or someone in the workplace based on race, age, disability, sexual orientation, or another protected characteristic.  For example, discrimination could be mean denying an individual a promotion, or terminating an existing employee, based on one or more of the protected characteristics rather than based on capability, talent, experience, or any other relevant factor.  Additionally, discrimination could involve an employee not being recommended for promotion to a job that they are qualified and capable of due to a factor such as their sexual orientation.

Find out more about how discrimination may present itself here.

We recommend taking the following steps if you feel you are being discriminated against:

Check that your problem legally amounts to discrimination under English & Wales law by seeking expert legal advice.  Once you have established that this may be the case the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) can provide further guidance.

Collect as much evidence to support your claim, which could be an email from leadership teams or team members that show discrimination. Or it could be contemporaneous written notes relating to the instances of discrimination you have experienced.

Try and resolve the problem either informally by speaking to your employer directly or following the procedures set out by your employer to resolve workplace issues. This could be the best option if you would like to remain working for your employer and wish to bring the situation to a speedy and civil conclusion.

If an informal request isn’t successful, you can make a formal complaint to your employer by ‘raising a grievance’. You should follow your company’s rules about raising a grievance (these will be in your contract of employment).

You should have the guidance of an expert employment lawyer who can assist if you require a trained mediator or arbitrator to help you. A trained arbitrator or mediator can help both you and your employer reach a suitable compromise, in a private capacity rather than in open court. This is a step to take before you have to take legal action. Giambrone & Partners' experienced employment lawyers will be able to advise you on the best way to take your case forward to gain the outcome you deserve. You can request a callback with us about our services here.

If negotiation has failed to reached a conculsion, the final option you can take is to take your employer to an employment tribunal. A tribunal claim should be the last resort and can be time-consuming and expensive. This course of action should only be taken with sound legal advice.  

Are you dealing with discrimination in the workplace? Read our guide to making a discrimination claim against your employer.

What to do if you’ve been unfairly dismissed

A fair dismissal can include the following:

  • Redundancy if your role is no longer necessary to the company.
  • Dismissal if you have breached your contract or your conduct is unacceptable by any reasonable standards.
  • If your capability to execute your tasks within your role changes.
  • Or if you are legally restricted from fulfilling your role, for instance, a driver who has lost their driving licence.
  • You may also be dismissed for any reason if you have worked for your employer for two years or less, unless the reason for the dismissal is “automatically unfair”, such as discrimination cases.
  • If your dismissal is not relevant to the factors above, we recommend taking the following steps:
  • Talk to your employer to establish and discuss the reasons for your dismissal. This is often the fastest and least stressful way of ascertaining the situation and can allow you to part on good terms.
  • Seek legal advice to understand your position and provide you with your options. Giambrone & Partners' experienced employment lawyers can advise and recommend the best course of action.
  • Should you find that you have to take the matter to an employment tribunal you will need to provide supporting evidence to reinforce your belief that you have been the subject of unfair dismissal. Our employment lawyers will support you every step of the way.

Find out more about how to do this in our guide to Making an unfair dismissal claim.

The benefits of alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a highly beneficial way of coming to a satisfactory conclusion in an employment dispute. It is a cost-effective solution, as both mediation and arbitration can be less expensive than going to an Employment Tribunal. It is also can be much faster than going to the  Employment Tribunal and is generally considered to be less stressful and confrontational for an employee.

This means that you may be able to come to a conclusion without further damaging your relationship with your employer.

Find out more about our alternative dispute resolution team here.

Read our full guide to find out more about the benefits of alternative dispute resolution.

Lawyer Talking to clients

When is going to a Tribunal necessary, and what should you expect?

If the dispute cannot solved via one of the methods of ADR, you need to progress to a Tribunal. In some cases, such as whistleblowing or other legally serious matters, you may need to go straight to an Employment Tribunal.

Tribunals are generally less formal than a legal matter heard in a court but both sides will be required to give evidence and a judge will make the final, legally binding decision.

How Giambrone & Partners can help

Giambrone & Partners can support you in a wide range of employment issues, providing guidance at every step. Our employment lawyers have a well-deserved track record in successfully dealing with cases in the Employment Tribunal. We can support you with your dispute, whether that involves making an employment tribunal claim or using alternative dispute resolution to resolve your dispute.

Our employment law team will advise and guide you as to the best approach to take, going forward, in order to receive the compensation or outcome you deserve. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you to achieve your desired outcome with minimal stress and lost time.

Related content

What to do if you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace

Making a workplace bullying claim