If you want to make a complaint under the Sex Discrimination Act or Equal Pay Act, you must send your complaint either on form ET1 or in a letter to the Regional Office of Employment Tribunals. You can get this from your local Jobcentre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Equal Opportunities Commission or online from the Employment Tribunal Service.
Under the Sex Discrimination Act, you must make your complaint within three months, minus one day, from when you first knew about the discrimination, unless the discrimination is continuing, in which case special rules may apply. Under the Equal Pay Act, you can make your complaint at any time during your employment or within six months, minus one day, of your employment ending. The cost of going to a tribunal is low. Even if you lose your case, you will not have to pay the other side's costs unless the tribunal decides you were being unreasonable in bringing the claim.
If you do want to take a complaint to an employment tribunal, you would normally send a special form, called a questionnaire, to the employer. You can get this form from:
This form asks the employer to give more reasons for the treatment you received. For example, if you believe that you didn't get a job because of your sex, you can ask for details of:
If you believe you may not be receiving equal pay, this form will also help you to find out whether this is the case and if so, why.
You must send the form to the employer within three months of when the discrimination happened (or no more than 21 days after your complaint was received by the employment tribunal).
You don't have to use the questionnaire procedure, but it will normally help your case. In the same way, the employer doesn't legally have to fill in the form, but if they don't, it may harm their case. And if you do use it, you can still withdraw your complaint before your case is dealt with if you want to.
If you, or your employer, are unhappy about how the tribunal reached its decision, you may be able to appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. But you can appeal only on whether the law was applied correctly, not on whether you thought the tribunal's decision was fair. You have 42 days after the decision to lodge an appeal.