As you go through a grievance process, you might find terms you haven't heard before. Here are some explanations for the terms we use on this site.


When you end your dispute by making an agreement out of court. Usually this means you are paid a sum of money in return for dropping the case.

Settlement agreement

The legal contract that confirms a settlement.

Settlement package

Another way to describe the terms set out in your settlement agreement.

Sexual harassment

Behaviour that is unwanted and is of a sexual nature. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel, intimidated, degraded, or offended. This is a separate behaviour from harassment related to a protected characteristic.

Skeleton argument

A document which sets out either the Respondent's or the Claimant's main arguments.

Staff handbook

A document which sets out your employer's various policies and procedures.

Struck out

When either your claim (or part of it) or the Respondent's response (or part of it) is discontinued or removed from the case, by order of the Tribunal.

Subject Access Request (SAR)

This is how you ask for a copy of your personal data, and other supplementary information, from your employer or anyone else who holds personal data about you. This is part of the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.


The closing arguments which are given by the representatives for the Respondent and the Claimant at the end of a Tribunal hearing. These could consist of written and/or oral submissions.

Substantive Preliminary Hearing

A hearing held before the final hearing, during which the legal merits of a specific issue are considered.

Summary dismissal

When you are dismissed instantly (without notice). An employer can do this in certain circumstances, for example if you have committed gross misconduct. It might or might not be legally fair.


Having or displaying a prejudice against transgender people.


Tribunal judge

An experienced legal professional who makes decisions regarding your Tribunal case.

Tribunal panel

The three individuals who together attend a Tribunal hearing to make a decision on the outcome. They are the Tribunal judge, and two non-legal representatives, which include an Employee Panel member and an Employer Panel Member.  A panel is only needed for some cases - the Judge will often attend the hearing alone.

Unfair dismissal

When you have been fired or made redundant unfairly. Whether a dismissal is fair or unfair depends upon your employer's reason for the dismissal and how they acted during the dismissal process. You usually need to have worked for your employer for 2 years before you can make an unfair dismissal claim.

Unlawful dismissal


Where you are treated badly because you have made a complaint about discrimination, or have helped a colleague make a complaint about discrimination.

Read more about victimisation.


Where you raise a concern about wrongdoing that you have seen or experienced, and you reasonably believe that raising the concern is in the public interest. If you raise a whistleblowing concern you have legal protections against being dismissed or treated badly because of this.


A person who has been involved in the events which happened to you, and/or is able to say something that is relevant to your issue.

Witness statements

A signed document from someone who has witnessed the behaviour you are complaining about. This should set out their evidence in their own words.

Written submissions

When submissions are given in writing at the end of a hearing.

Wrongful dismissal

When your employer has breached one of the terms of your contract by dismissing you. For example, if you were dismissed without the notice period stated in your contract.