There are many benefits to bringing claims in the employment tribunal rather than the courts where it is possible. The main one is cost. There are no tribunal fees and generally proceedings come up more quickly in front of a judge. Often tribunal cases take less time to decide. However, not all claims can be brought in the employment tribunal.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has decided that an employee cannot bring a breach of contract claim in the employment tribunal against a party who is not her employer.
Mrs Oni originally brought claims against her former employer for unfair dismissal, race discrimination and victimisation. Those claims were dismissed. She then raised a claim against her union, Unison alleging that her union representative had victimised her and caused her detriment on the grounds of her race. She was again unsuccessful and Unison applied for a costs award against her and were successful. Mrs Oni then raised another claim against Unison in the employment tribunal for breach of her membership contract. She argued that she had been unjustifiably disciplined by Unison when they applied for costs against her.
The judge rejected her appeal and ruled that only breach of contract claims against an employer can be brought in the employment tribunal. This is helpful if you are ever faced with a breach of contract claim in the employment tribunal by someone who is not your employee.