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Outnumbered

If you arrive at the tribunal on your own, or on your own apart from a representative or a family member, it can be quite intimidating to see 2 or 3 managers and half your former employer’s HR department there on the other side.

Try not to take this personally, or let it worry you unduly.

First, even if all of these people are proposing to give evidence, it doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage: witnesses lose cases more often than they win them – by wheeling out a lot of witnesses, your employer may actually be improving your chances.

And if several of your former colleagues are there just to observe proceedings, it can feel like a calculated attempt to intimidate you. But it probably isn’t: more likely, it’s just that it’s useful for them to see what the process is like. For most managers and HR people, ET hearings are both a fairly rare event, and a stressful one. It’s useful for managers to see their colleagues having to defend their decisions under cross-examination in a case in which they are not directly involved: for one thing, they may learn things that make it less likely for their decisions to be challenged in tribunal in the first place; and if they do ever have to give evidence in a tribunal hearing in the future, at least they will have seen the process before, so it won’t be completely unfamiliar.

One comment

  1. Bill Ryan

    I think the point about more witnesses for the other side being a potential benefit is well made. The chance for inconsistencies and/or brutal honesty is increased with more people giving evidence.

    It definitely is much harder to challenge the evidence of one person who sticks to a ‘simple line’.

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