Over the last couple of months I have been astounded that employers who are served with employment claims are not filing their defences on time or let the deadline pass.
I then get the call to ask whether they can file a defence after the deadline.
The Tribunal cannot make it any clearer in their covering letters to an employer when they send the claim which has been filed by the employee.
- It clearly states in the letter that the employer has to file the defence by a certain date and that deadline date is in bold;
- It clearly states that if you do not apply for an extension, then the date that is in bold is the date to file the defence;
- It clearly states that if you fail to file a defence then it is a judgment.
In a nutshell a default judgment means that you have little to no chance of arguing the merits of the claim as to whether or not an individual has been unfairly dismissed or whether they have been subject to discrimination.
As employees do not know what compensation a Tribunal may give their initial figures may be inflated and unrealistic. By failing to file a defence you are just handing over free money.
If you, as the employer, do not wish to instruct an employment specialist (which I would highly advise that you do), then at the very least as soon as you are served with a claim, write to the Tribunal for an extension of time or file a very short defence setting out facts and denying the claim.
Protect your position.