Prior to April 2014, claimants had the opportunity to submit a statutory questionnaire to their employers. Questionnaires were a formal means of sourcing information, evidence, statistics and data to analyse the strength of and to evidentially support an age discrimination claim. The advantage of the questionnaire process was that if employers failed to respond within eight weeks, or responded in an evasive or equivocal manner, Employment Tribunals were entitled to draw an inference of discrimination. Whilst the response of an employer was not obligatory, in practice, employers would often provide a response within the statutory timeframe to avoid the risk of a negative inference being drawn.
Following the abolition of the formal statutory questionnaire process, employees are still able to ask the employer questions regarding their potential or actual discrimination claim. Acas has produced a guide to assist employees with this informal process and has identified the type of information that should be included when requesting information. Although there is no direct penalty for an employer in failing to respond, a Tribunal is able to take the employer’s response (or lack of it) into consideration when making its assessment of whether discrimination has taken place.
As there is no longer a formal process, questions can be raised at any time, although it is presumed that they will be raised at an early stage.
If you decide to ask the employer questions, you may find the sample questions helpful when considering what you should ask. The questions have been provided by the employment department at Slater & Gordon Lawyers, and are examples of questions which were previously used in questionnaires. You may also wish to read the guidance provided by Acas, which includes a step by step guide to asking questions.
The sample uestions are illustrative examples only and there may be more questions that you wish to ask or questions that are not appropriate to the circumstances of your particular claim, which should be omitted. Care has been taken to ensure that the questions are as comprehensive as possible. However, we do not accept responsibility for mistakes or omissions. Please do not use this information to disregard any legal advice, nor to delay in seeking legal advice or representation because of any material contained in it.