Witnesses can be helpful where there is a dispute over what happened, but they are not essential. Often the Claimant is the only witness and the employer has four or more witnesses. This does not mean the Claimant cannot win. The tribunal will decide who is telling the truth.
If the Claimant calls witnesses, make sure the witness’s evidence is necessary, relevant and helpful. Remember that the tribunal or the employer’s representative can also ask the witness questions once they are in the tribunal. Often witnesses can damage a case.
Documents are sometimes more important as evidence than witnesses. Make sure that the Claimant collects all the important documents when preparing their case.
Consistency is important. If there are any discrepancies between the documents, eg different things are written in the tribunal Claim, the Questionnaire and the grievance letter, the tribunal may not believe that the Claimant is telling the truth.
If a problem is developing at work, the worker should keep contemporaneous notes. This is useful tribunal evidence, because the notes were written while the Claimant’s memory was fresh. The Claimant should keep a separate work diary, so that their notes are not mixed up with personal issues. The Claimant should not write in any private conversations with their solicitor and they should not add any notes later.
Tell the Claimant’s story in a straight-forward way. Do not exaggerate or throw in weak Claims. Sometimes the strongest points can get lost in a mass of irrelevant detail. It does not make the Claimant’s case stronger to throw in every accusation the Claimant can think of. It is much better to focus on issues where the Claimant has good evidence.
If the Claimant can’t remember certain details, do not guess. It is fine to say that they are not sure or that they ‘think’ an event occurred ‘around’ a certain date.
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