Why not become an Employment Tribunal panel member?

Manpower are recruiting now for 340 non-legal members across Great Britain.

Employment Tribunal Panels are made up of three people; a Judge and two non-legal members.  One of the members should have a background that means they understand the employer’s perspective (often from HR or management or a business owner) and the other should understand the employee’s perspective (say a TU rep or a Citizens Advice advisor) – although we don’t take sides in the tribunal, we are all objective. 

The non-legal members are there for their knowledge of how things really are in the workplace, since Judges may not have wide experience of different types of workplace – so you will need some experience of employment relations matters, such as discipline and grievance, redundancies or business transfers. 

The Judge explains the law (although you get to know most of it fairly quickly) and after that we jointly make decisions and are on an equal footing – the non-legal members can outvote the Judge (although we prefer to come to a unanimous decision wherever possible).  You therefore need to be an independent thinker as well as being able to work with others. 

You will need to have a good awareness of diversity issues and you should be interested in people – sometimes witnesses will have opposite views of what happened and the panel will have to decide which they believe.

You will also need to be able to assimilate information quickly; you will need to understand legal arguments.  We also keep a note of everything that is said – so you have to be able to write/type quickly!

I have been a non-legal member on the Employment Tribunal panels since 2002 and I still thoroughly enjoy it.  Every case is different and many are challenging and really make you think. I have seen cases involving a lot of different organisations, from all sectors and I have seen a far wider range of cases than I ever could have experienced in my day job.  It probably goes without saying then that I have learned a huge amount from doing this – all of which has been very useful in my HR roles.

I can recommend this to anyone with an interest in employment law and in helping people achieve justice.  You get to see a lot of interesting cases and what’s more you get to go in and do a day’s work without having to do any preparation in advance and no homework afterwards – I don’t know about you, but my day job is definitely not like that.

The closing date is 14 June – good luck!