Firstly: don’t panic. Whether expected or not, it is always worth remembering that a systematic approach to responding to a claim is more effective than an emotive one. No knee-jerk reactions required.
Fortunately the days of receiving an ET1 Claim form with little or no warning are largely gone. The introduction of the ACAS Early Conciliation procedure has all but eradicated this advantage potential claimant employees held, and the “shock value” of being hit with an unexpected claim.
Nowadays, a potential claimant has to (and a potential Respondent can) commence ACAS early conciliation prior to a claim being lodged. Provided a prospective Claimant wishes to continue with ACAS early conciliation when they are contacted by an ACAS early conciliation officer (“CO”) the CO must, at the very least, try to contact the prospective Respondent to see if they are willing to negotiate. Accordingly, it is now “virtually impossible” for an ET1 Claim Form to simply arrive ‘out of the blue’.
Whilst this article is concerned with what steps should be taken on receipt of an ET1 Claim Form there is nothing preventing these steps being taken earlier; namely when a business is notified of a potential claim by way of ACAS Early Conciliation, or even earlier should a claim be anticipated (or threatened).