Outcomes of employment-related tribunal claims

Possible outcomes from employment-related tribunal cases

You may either succeed in defending a tribunal claim, or lose the claim - in whole or in part.

If you lose an unfair dismissal case, you may be ordered to comply with one of the following orders:

  • Reinstatement to the old job as if the claimant had never been away, on the same terms and conditions and with back pay and benefits - eg pension rights - for the period since dismissal.
  • Re-engagement in a new job on similar terms and conditions to the old position. You may not have to pay any back pay if the employee's conduct contributed to their dismissal.
  • Financial compensation, which is by far the most common outcome - see compensation for successful employment tribunal claims.

Tribunals/arbitrators will only order reinstatement or re-engagement if they believe it can actually work. If you are ordered to re-employ the employee but you do not comply, it may increase the financial compensation.

Costs and expenses

Costs can be awarded in exceptional circumstances by the Tribunal, where they consider one party has acted unreasonably in pursuing or conducting their case. For example:

  • A cost award can be made to cover legal costs for parties who were legally represented at the time the case was heard.
  • A preparation time award covers time spent preparing for a case for a party who isn't legally represented.
  • Wasted costs orders are made directly against a paid representative on account of their own unreasonable conduct. This only applies to representatives who are acting in pursuit of profit, eg paid legal representatives.

The limit on costs that the tribunal may itself award is £10,000, but a tribunal may order costs as assessed by an officer of the County Court, in which case the limit does not apply. Parties may also agree that costs of more than £10,000 are to be paid.

Cost awards cannot be made by an arbitrator.