We successfully represented a client who had a former employee bring claims against them for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Our employment team helped them to settle this spurious claim within a few months and for a nominal fee.
Here’s how we resolved things so swiftly…
Things started off well between our client and their employee (‘the claimant’) for the first 2.5 years of their employment. Unfortunately, this good relationship began to suffer when a series of sporadic absences occurred over a period of six months and all for different reasons.
Although our client sought to support the employee by referring them to an occupational health professional and requesting medical documents, the absences didn’t reduce. This triggered an extensive absence review process, and in the end our client had no alternative but to dismiss them.
However, this was far from the end of things. The claimant brought claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Our client went through the early conciliation process with them, but it was unsuccessful – and they then unfortunately received an Acknowledgement of Claim from the Tribunal with the claimant’s ET1. It was at this point that the severity of the situation became clear, so they sought out legal support from our employment team here at Optimal Solicitors.
We took prompt action – writing to the Tribunal and the claimant’s solicitors to formally go on record. We also asked their solicitors if the claimant would be open to settling the matter amicably.
After receiving no response to this communication, we worked on detailed instructions from the client and gave the ET3 and Grounds of Resistance to the Tribunal. This resulted in the claimant making an offer of £16,000. However, we believed we could robustly defend the claim, and advised our client to explore settlement instead.
We presented a counter-offer on a commercial basis to the claimant’s solicitors. As part of this, we highlighted relevant case law and legislation to support our client’s claim. There was then continuous negotiation back and forth until we reached a legally binding agreement with their solicitors.
A COT3 settlement was agreed, where the claimant received £1,500 (a significant reduction from the £16,000 originally offered by their solicitors). We formally went on record in May 2021 and had a completed COT3 by the beginning of September 2021.
While we were confident that we could have defended the claim at a full merits hearing, it was listed for a hearing some 10 months later. Our client was understandably keen to avoid the hassle and the resulting legal costs. By proactively managing the claim, we saved them thousands of pounds in legal fees – not to mention the stress that comes with a tribunal claim.
Have an employment law issue?
If you find yourself in a similar position to our client and would like further advice on an employment issue, disability discrimination or any other please don’t hesitate to speak to us here at Optimal Solicitors.
Even if you don’t have an existing legal matter to deal with, we can still help. Too often, employers don’t regularly review their workplace documents and policies – like contracts of employment or dismissal procedures. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to look over your documents and advise you on what needs updating.
In either case, you can get in touch with a member of our team by clicking here.