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11 October 2016

Finding out what it’s really like to be in an employment tribunal

Hertfordshire law firm Debenhams Ottaway hosted a mock employment tribunal last week on the hot topic of inappropriate use of social media in the workplace, in association with Hertfordshire CIPD and No5 Chambers.

A fictitious case was presented by No5 Chambers and Debenhams Ottaway where a pub manager was dismissed for gross misconduct following a claim of inappropriate use of Facebook after a workplace incident. Delegates experienced the tension and drama of witnesses providing evidence and being interrogated by counsel.

Attended by HR managers, directors and business owners from a wide range of organisations, delegates were given a real insight into what to expect if they ever become involved in an employment tribunal.

After the witnesses gave evidence and closing submissions were made by counsel, delegates voted on what they thought the final outcome should be before the judge delivered his decision and reasons for it. Whilst lots of different factors were taken into account, it was found by both the judge and the majority of the audience that it was a case of unfair dismissal.

Louise Attrup, executive partner at Debenhams Ottaway commented "It was great to see the audience so engaged and asking very interesting and sometimes challenging questions. As an employment lawyer I regularly see first hand what is involved in a tribunal. However, it is often the case that a representative or witness is called up without any understanding of the cross-examination skills they may face.

This type of event gives an accurate picture of what to expect and is essential training for HR professionals, managers and anyone who is involved in employee relations".

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