Finding out that you will be required to give evidence at an Employment Tribunal can be a frightening prospect. However, these fears are often based on simple misunderstandings relating to what will actually happen in the Employment Tribunal.
So let’s start dispelling the top five of those myths.
- The Tribunal hearing does not take place in a typical court room that you might see on a television show, it will look more like a small classroom than the Old Bailey!
- Attending as a witness for one party does not mean that you will have to sit by the other party whilst you wait for the case to start. The Tribunal building will have separate waiting rooms for the parties to sit in.
- Giving evidence does not generally mean that a witness has to stand on a raised platform in front of a large audience. Whilst Employment Tribunals are public hearings, there are rarely many in the room and all the evidence will be based on a written statement that will have been prepared beforehand. You may not even be required to read out aloud.
- Cross examination does not mean that there will be a shouting match between a lawyer and a witness. Questions will be asked, but it will not be an argument. A witness is just expected to answer the questions honestly.
- A surprise document or witness will not appear out of the blue to catch you out. The Employment Tribunal procedure is based on both parties disclosing all relevant evidence well before the hearing.
For an insight into the reality of attending an Employment Tribunal as a witness, watch our ‘Witness for a day’ video.
Filmed from the viewpoint of a witness for an employer that is facing an unfair dismissal claim, this video will take you through the whole process – from arriving at the Tribunal, to the judgment being given at its conclusion.
This blog post was written by Christopher Davies. For further information, please contact:
Christopher Davies, professional support lawyer, Employment
T: 0161 836 7936