Talking to the Press

Sometimes – if the allegations are important or salacious, or high-profile individuals are involved, or the legal issues are far-reaching – the Press will show an interest in an employment tribunal case. Most hearings are public, so reporters may be present whether you want them there or not.

Should you talk to the Press?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but it is a good thing to have thought and made a decision about before it arises rather than making a snap decision when you are telephoned out of the blue or approached in the tribunal waiting room by a reporter.

The first point is that there is certainly no reason why you should answer any Press questions if you don’t want to. If you want to think and/or take advice before you answer them, you can tell them that. But a polite but firm ‘I’m sorry, I don’t want to talk to you about my case’ should end the matter.

The main practical impact of Press interest will be on negotiations. If the respondent is sensitive to publicity, a degree of Press interest may encourage them to make an attractive offer in the hope of getting you to sign a confidentiality agreement. On the other hand, if you say too much to reporters while negotiations are in progress, and there are widespread news stories as a result, you risk making your employer think that they don’t have much more to lose – and that could damage your negotiating position.

If in doubt, it is probably best to say nothing: putting information into the public domain is easy; getting it back is impossible.

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