Making a claim to an employment tribunal

You might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal if you have a problem at work that has not been resolved.

Before you make a claim, it’s a good idea to explore all options with your employer about how things can move forward.

You can raise the problem with your employer informally, or as a formal grievance if that does not work.

Tell Acas you’re making a claim

If you want to make a claim to an employment tribunal, you must tell Acas first.

You’ll be offered the option of 'early conciliation'. This free service can help you and your employer resolve the issue before you need to make a claim.

Making a claim to a tribunal can be time consuming and difficult for everyone involved.

Employment tribunal fees

You do not have to pay a fee to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Time limits

A claim to an employment tribunal must usually be made within 3 months less 1 day. This is known as the 'limitation date'.

For example, if an employee wants to claim for unfair dismissal, they have 3 months less 1 day from the date their employment ended to make the claim. 

If it's a claim about redundancy pay or equal pay, the claim must be made within 6 months. 

Acas must receive your early conciliation notification before the end of the limitation date.

When we receive your early conciliation notification, the limitation date gets extended so that there's enough time for early conciliation to take place. 

Some types of claim do not have to go to (are 'exempt' from) early conciliation. We cannot advise whether your claim is exempt.

Find out about exemptions from early conciliation on leglislation.gov.uk.

If early conciliation ends without an agreement

An early conciliation certificate is issued. A claimant will have a minimum of 1 calendar month from the date of receipt of the certificate to make a claim to the employment tribunal. 

In some cases, a claimant might have longer than 1 month to make a claim to the employment tribunal. Working out the exact time limit can be complicated. You might want to get legal advice

It's the claimant's responsibility to make sure that their claim is made to the tribunal in time. Only a tribunal can decide whether the claim is in time or not. The conciliator cannot decide or advise on this point.

More information

You can find out more about employment tribunals from:

Making a claim to an employment tribunal