Make a Tribunal claim for victimisation after a disability discrimination complaint

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How to make a Tribunal claim

You can make a Tribunal claim at no cost to the Employment Tribunal, using the ET1 form. Before you submit your claim, you must contact ACAS, the public body who can help to resolve your claim through Early Conciliation. You can write your particulars of claim using our ET1 Particulars of Claim template.

This guide will walk you through making a disability victimisation claim.

How to complete Section 8.2 of the ET1 form

The ET1 form will ask in section 8.2 for the background and details of your claim. The best way to approach this is to write your Particulars of Claim (called a Paper Apart if you are in Scotland). This is where you lay out what happened, what legal claims you’d like to make and your reasoning.

This section is the heart of your Tribunal claim and is very important and difficult to change later on, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure it’s clear.

How to create your particulars of claim:

  1. Write your ET1 section 8.2

    You’ll normally do this by creating a separate document called the Particulars of Claim (or Paper Apart in Scotland). This sets out the background and details of your claim. Valla offers step-by-step guidance to help you make sure your claims are clear and laid out in the right way.

  2. Convert the file to Rich Text Format (RTF)

    Convert your file to RTF and attach it to the online ET1 form. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can purchase Valla’s Peace of Mind Check and we will sort this out for you.

  3. Submit your ET1 form

    Wait for the Tribunal to acknowledge your claim. They will also send a copy to the Respondent, who will have 28 days to respond.

Specific things to consider in your disability victimisation claim

Laying out your claim

When you are claiming disability victimisation at Tribunal, you want to clearly argue that you have been treated badly because you have made a complaint about disability discrimination, or have helped a colleague make a complaint about disability discrimination. For example:

  • A non-disabled worker gives evidence on behalf of a disabled colleague at an Employment Tribunal hearing where disability discrimination is claimed. The non-disabled worker is subsequently refused a promotion because of that action.
  • An employer threatens to dismiss a staff member because he thinks she intends to support a colleague’s disability harassment claim.
  • A senior manager upholds a worker’s grievance about disability harassment. As a result, they are not put forward by their director to attend an important conference on behalf of the company.

With disability victimisation, your employer can be liable for the acts of its employees, as well as the employees being personally responsible. 

Proving your claim

You don’t need to attach evidence to a Tribunal ET1 claim, but it’s a good idea to back up your claims by mentioning the evidence you intend to use. For disability victimisation claims, people typically refer to evidence such as text messages, emails, letters, meeting notes, medical evidence and witness evidence.

What you can ask for in your disability victimisation claim

If you’re successful in a Tribunal claim, you will be awarded a “remedy”. This mainly includes financial compensation, like loss of earnings. It can also include some non-financial remedies too.

Common remedies people ask for at Tribunal

Some of the key remedies you can ask for at Tribunal are:

  • The money you have lost from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • The money that you expect to lose in the future from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • Wages that you are owed, including holiday pay and notice pay.

Discrimination-specific remedies

As well as the common remedies that you can ask for, discrimination-specific claims also have the option to include an “injury to feelings” remedy. This is compensation which you can be awarded when you have been hurt or distressed because you have been discriminated against.

Injury to feelings is generally awarded within one of three “Vento bands” depending on severity:

  • for less serious cases - £990 to £9,900
  • for more serious cases - £9,900 to £29,600
  • for the most serious cases - £29,600 to £49,300

For example, Isla, an advertising and marketing employee, was subjected to disability victimisation. She had previously left her position at a broadcasting company after settling potential disability discrimination claims with them. She was then employed with an agency that worked with her old company. Her old company then effected a policy that they would no longer deal with agencies. She was awarded £20,000 plus interest for injury to feelings. 

Real disability victimisation cases you can learn from

Summary: a job applicant was not hired due to the employer’s concern that the applicant’s mental health issues and history of bringing grievances would be a “risk”.

Total award: £4,410, including interest

Outcome: the Tribunal found that the employer rejected the applicant because they believed he might do a protected act in the future, such as making a complaint of discrimination against them or bringing proceedings in the Employment Tribunal. The two people conducting the interview knew that the applicant had raised a Tribunal claim and multiple grievances against his old employer. Their decision to reject his application amounted to disability victimisation and also direct disability discrimination.

Summary: an Assistant Head Teacher had several months’ sickness absence for depression and anxiety. She took the school to the Tribunal for a number of issues surrounding how they had managed her sickness absence and employment around this time. She had also previously brought an Employment Tribunal claim against the school.

Outcome: the Assistant Head Teacher was successful in a number of the claims that she made to the Employment Tribunal, including claims that she had been victimised due to the earlier Employment Tribunal case she had brought. The school victimised her when they invited her to a Stage 2 meeting under their long term sickness absence policy before her Stage 1 appeal had been concluded. Her line manager also made references, in drafts of her performance review, to the earlier Tribunal claim that she had made and to her attendance record - these were also found to amount to acts of victimisation. 

Further reading

Related Tribunal claims 

If you’ve faced disability victimisation at work, there are potentially a number of other discrimination claims that could apply to you:

  • Direct discrimination - where you’ve been treated badly because of your disability.
  • Harassment - where you’ve been subjected to behaviour that relates to a disability and is unwanted. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel intimidated, degraded, or offended.
  • Indirect discrimination - where a company policy or practice negatively affects disabled people.
  • Sexual harassment - where you have experienced unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or been treated less favourably because you have either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments - where your employer has failed to make a reasonable change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability.
  • Discrimination arising from disability - where you’ve been treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself.

You may also be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or another type of employment law. You can download your free Action Toolkit to find out more.