The media

The vast majority of employment tribunal cases don’t attract any media attention.

The ones that do, tend to involve some sort of media friendly hook: salacious facts, the involvement of celebrities, a link to a current news preoccupation or a really significant impact on a large number of other people.

If your case doesn’t involve on of these elements it probably won’t be seen as newsworthy and any attempt to interest the press will almost certainly fail.

People sometimes want to involve or interest the media because they hope that doing so will shame their employer into settling the case. This can work, but often doesn’t. Partly because of the difficulty of getting the media interested in the first place — but also because media interest doesn’t necessarily make respondents settle. If the glare of publicity does fall on them they may feel they have to win the case in order to clear themselves or they may just become so angry that it interferes with negotiations.

People sometimes also want to involve the media for more altruistic reasons. For example, to highlight serious wrongdoing in a whistleblowing case or to expose sexism in a discrimination case. For individuals or organisations with a wider interest than the simple outcome of the case, this can be an important element of their work.

But it is worth bearing in mind that the media will have its own agenda and will not necessarily see your case the way that you do. Once they’re involved its very difficult to influence how they will report the case or what impact it will have on proceedings. Influencing the media is a difficult job — look how often it goes wrong for people who spend their whole careers trying. Think carefully about whether you have the skills and contacts to do it. And whether you can take the time and effort from managing your tribunal claim.

If the press do become interested in your case, it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want. In most cases, a polite ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t wish to comment’ will be sufficient.

P.S. It’s only a few days until I try to run 26.2 miles on behalf of FRU. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at

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