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.

Maternity discrimination

Discrimination, on the basis of the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity.

Maternity leave

An entitlement that employees have to take time off work to look after their baby. Statutory maternity leave is made up of Ordinary Maternity Leave and Additional Maternity Leave.


A way of dealing with an issue at work. The aim of mediation is to repair relationships and find a solution that everyone can agree to. It is led by a neutral person called the 'mediator'. Note that this is different to Judicial Mediation.

Medical evidence

Documents relating to medical issues that are relevant to your case, for example letters from a doctor or fit (sick) notes.

Medical expert

Mitigation of loss

Your duty to reduce the losses you have experienced. For example if you have lost your job, you should conduct a search for a new job or get medical evidence to show why you have not done so. Otherwise, the Tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation it awards.

National Living Wage

The minimum amount your employer has to pay you per hour, if you’re over 23.

National Minimum Wage

The minimum amount your employer has to pay you per hour, if you’re under 23 or an apprentice.


A person who does not identify as a ‘man’ or ‘woman’, or their gender identity does not sit comfortably with either the term 'man' or 'woman'.

Non-statutory flexible working request

If you don't meet the eligibility criteria for a Statutory flexible working request, you can make a non-statutory flexible working request instead. If you make a non-statutory request, you won't be able to make a claim to the Tribunal under the law on flexible working, but you might still be able to make a claim to the Tribunal for another reason, for example if you have been discriminated against.

Notice of Acknowledgement

The letter that the Employment Tribunal sends to tell you they have accepted your ET1.

Notice pay

Pay for your notice period.

Notice period

The number of weeks or months' notice required if your employment comes to an end.

Oral submissions

When submissions are given orally at the end of a hearing.


In the Tribunal context, see Case Management Orders.

Ordinary Maternity Leave

The first 26 weeks of your maternity leave. A key difference between Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave is that you have the right to return your exact same job if you go back to work after Ordinary Maternity Leave.

Ordinary unfair dismissal

An informal term for an unfair dismissal that is not "automatically unfair".


Paper Apart

The document which you attach to your ET1 form, to give more detail about the claim, in Scotland.

Particulars of Claim

The document which you attach to your ET1 form, to give more detail about the claim, in England and Wales.

Party litigant

The term used to describe someone who represents themselves, without a lawyer, in Scotland.


These are “provisions, criteria or practices” that can be examined to see if they are discriminatory. The definition of a PCP is deliberately broad. It covers any kind of rule, formal or informal policy, practice, or decision, written or implied.

Preliminary Hearing

A Tribunal hearing which takes place before the final hearing. This might be a Case Management Preliminary Hearing or a Substantive Preliminary Hearing.

Privileged documents

A special category of documents which you don't have to disclose to the Respondent or the Tribunal.

Pro bono

Legal work done for free, usually provided to those on lower incomes who otherwise could not afford legal advice.

Protected act

A protected act relates to the law around victimisation. It is when you: make a complaint of discrimination, formally or informally; provide evidence or information for a colleague’s complaint of discrimination; complain that someone has done anything else that is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010, or do anything else related to the Act - for example, raising awareness of unlawful discrimination among your colleagues.

Protected characteristic

Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Read more about the legal protections for these characteristics

Protected conversation

A conversation which your employer may have with you which is "off the record" and cannot be referred to in future Employment Tribunal proceedings, where there is no prior dispute with your employer. The purpose of this conversation is to negotiate a deal to leave your employment.

Protected disclosure

A protected disclosure is a whistleblowing concern which you raise when you reasonably believe there is, or is likely to be, wrongdoing within the workplace. It will usually relate to issues such as health and safety concerns or potential illegal activity.

Protected Period

This relates to pregnancy and maternity discrimination. It's a period of time during which you have special protections from discrimination. The period begins at the start of your pregnancy. If you take maternity leave, it ends at the end of your maternity leave or (if earlier) on return to work after the pregnancy. Otherwise, it ends two weeks after the end of your pregnancy. Even after the protected period has ended, you still can’t be discriminated against for having taken maternity leave or having tried to take maternity leave.

Race discrimination

Discrimination, on the basis of the protected characteristic of race.

Reasonable adjustments

A change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability. Your employer has a duty to make these adjustments, as long as they are reasonable.

Reasonably practicable

A term used in the context of Employment Tribunal time limits. For unfair dismissal claims, the Judge may have discretion to extend time if you are late in making your claim, in circumstances where it was not "reasonably practicable" for you to have done this earlier.


A remedy sometimes used in a discrimination case. Where a Tribunal finds that unlawful discrimination has been proved it can recommend that the Respondent takes steps to reduce the effect of discrimination on you and on any other person such as your colleagues at work. This might include, for example, re-training staff in equality and diversity.


Blank or black out part of a document.


When you are dismissed because your role is no longer necessary. There is a specific legal definition of redundancy and employers need to follow a specific process to make someone redundant.

Redundancy pay

This could refer to either statutory redundancy pay, enhanced redundancy pay, or both.


When a Tribunal orders an employer to let an employee come back to them on similar terms and conditions (although not to the same job). This is a potential remedy for unfair dismissal.


When a Tribunal orders an employer to give an employee back the same job as they had before leaving the employer. This is a potential remedy for unfair dismissal.


The compensation awarded if your claim is successful. This normally consists of financial compensation but can also include non-monetary remedies, like your employer having to reinstate you.

Remedy Hearing

A hearing at which the Tribunal decides what remedy you receive. A remedy hearing will only be held if you are successful in at least one of your claims.

Remedy Statement

A witness statement that gives evidence relating to what remedy you think you should be awarded. You may need to prepare this statement if there is a Remedy Hearing.

Reserved judgment

When a Judge or Tribunal panel gives their judgment in writing at a later date, rather than giving this orally at the end of a hearing.


When you tell your employer that you are leaving your job, normally giving your contracted notice period.


The person or organisation which the Tribunal claim is made against (usually your employer).

Schedule of loss

A document you prepare to set out the remedy you are seeking.


A type of employment status, where you are your own boss and are responsible for running the business and whether it succeeds or fails.


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.

Standard of proof

The level of certainty required for a court case to be proven.

Statutory flexible working request

You can apply for flexible working if you’ve worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. This is known as ‘making a statutory application.’

Statutory redundancy pay

A payment which you'll normally be entitled to if you’re an employee, you're being made redundant, and you’ve been working for your current employer for 2 years or more.

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.

Trade union

An organisation of employees who work together to maintain and improve their conditions of employment.


A written version of something which was originally in audio or video format.


Having or displaying a prejudice against transgender people.


Tribunal judge

An experienced legal professional who makes decisions regarding your Tribunal case. Their official title is "Employment Judge".

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 deduction of wages

When a worker or employee has been underpaid their wages (or not paid at all).

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.

Without prejudice

When you or your employer intends a communication to be “off the record” and that it shouldn’t be referred to in any subsequent Employment Tribunal litigation. Settlement negotiations are usually without prejudice.

Without prejudice letter/email

A letter or email that is sent without prejudice.


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. Both you and your employer/the Respondent can have witnesses to support your side.

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.


A type of employment status, where you work under a contract (whether this is written down or not) to perform personally any work or services. It is different to being an employee for various reasons. For example, you are more likely to be a worker than an employee if you are free to accept or reject any offer of work made to you.

Working Time Regulations

A UK law which contains rules around working hours and holidays. The rules protect the rights of workers and employees, and deal with things like minimum paid holidays, rest breaks, daily rest, weekly rest and the maximum average working week.

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.