How to keep yourself well when you're running your own Employment Tribunal case

Taking your employer to Tribunal can bring up a lot of tough feelings, especially when you’re trying to fit it around work, job-seeking or other responsibilities. Taking care of yourself is so important, but how do you actually do it? Here are five practical ways you can keep yourself well when you're going through the Tribunal process.

Treat it like a project

You are dealing with a lot of uncertainty with an employment issue - how will your employer respond? What will the Judge say? But there are lots of certainties too that you can plan around. Tribunals have fixed documents that everyone needs to prepare, and schedules that you need to follow. This makes it easier for you to break the process down into manageable chunks. 

That’s exactly what employment lawyers do - they schedule out the whole process and take it step by step. Learn more about how to project manage your case like a lawyer here.

Learn how others have done it

You’re not alone in representing yourself at Tribunal - many people do it every year and the numbers are growing.  You can search the GOV.UK Employment Tribunal archive for cases similar to yours - use the filter box on the left to select claims like yours (e.g. “age discrimination”, “race discrimination”) and then click into each case, looking for “judgment”, or “judgment with reasons” documents.  At the top of most documents you’ll see a section titled “Representation” and if the claimant is listed as “unrepresented” or “in person”, they were also representing themselves at Tribunal.

Build your support team

Just like an athlete needs a team to help them finish the race, you need a team to encourage and support you on the way. Of course your friends and family want to help, but it’s worth setting up an explicit “support team” and asking them to help with paperwork, read over your documents, or just give you pep talks when you need them. 

Find people going through the same thing

You can also get support from other people on the same journey - Employment Tribunal communities on Facebook and Reddit are a great place to ask questions, read about cases similar to yours and get a confidence boost. If they can do it, you can do it too!  

Contact charities who can help

You can also extend your support network through charities - Support Through Court are designed specifically for people in England and Wales who are representing themselves, Advocate can help connect you with a pro bono barrister who can help with your legal argument, and LawWorks has a network of law centres across England and Wales that can help guide you through the process. 

There are also specialist charities who can help with your particular issue - for example Pregnant then Screwed and Maternity Action both offer support to self-representers for maternity discrimination, Stonewall can help with LGBTQ+ discrimination, and Equality Advisory Service can help members of many marginalised groups. 

Use Valla to stay on top of your case

Whether you’re writing a grievance letter or waiting for your Preliminary Hearing, Valla can help you project manage your case and generate the documents and letters you need. Sign up free here and start getting ahead in your case.  

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When you're standing up to your employer, it's all about leverage. Find out how to identify your leverage, build a solid argument, review your options and take the next step.

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