Questionnaires are used by employees to get information from their employers about their claim (and which can be used either before they bring their claim, or once it has been issued at an employment tribunal). We set out more information about when and how to ask questions here.
The statutory questionnaires have been abolished for acts of discrimination occurring on or after 6 April 2014. However, you can and should still ask questions of your employer. Acas has issued guidance on how this can be done.
If the Respondent fails to reply to questions or replies evasively, a Tribunal can still take this into account when making a decision in a discrimination claim.
A Tribunal also has the power to order that questions be answered as part of legal proceedings, and in some cases there are other ways of obtaining replies to questions, such as making requests under the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please contact the helpline if you need more information on this, or if you are unsure about whether or not you can or should use a questionnaire.
Below is an example of how you might set out the background and some questions to ask, based on the case described in Precedent 1.
- I started work for the respondent in March 2005 and I was promoted to hotel manager in August 2016. I never had any disciplinary warnings, verbal or written, throughout my employment.
- On 1 October 2016, I told the hotel director, Keith Venables, that I was pregnant. Mr Venables congratulated me and said, “You make me think about things”. I did not know what he meant.
- On 4 October 2016, Mr Venables telephoned me and said that business was down and my performance was unsatisfactory. He said he had warned me about this before, which is not true. Then he said, “You don’t know how your pregnancy will go and how you will cope with the workload. You won’t be able to get up early and after eight months, you’ll sleep more”. I was so shocked that I burst into tears.
- As Hotel Manager, I was invited to attend the Group management meetings every month. However, I was not invited to attend the meetings on 6 and 13 October 2016.
- On 14 October , Mr Venables sent me an e-mail telling me to attend a disciplinary hearing on 18 October 2016 in respect of my poor performance. I was not informed prior to the hearing of any details as to what was wrong with my performance. I was not told that I could bring a work colleague with me, contrary to the ACAS Code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. When I asked if I could bring someone with me, I was told that was not necessary.
- When I attended the hearing, Mr Venables produced statistics showing that hotel occupancy had gone down dramatically in the previous 18 months. I said this was not my fault. It was a result of the global recession. Mr Venables would not listen to me. He said that he could not afford to carry the business and unfortunately he had to replace me. He told me I was dismissed with immediate effect and that a manager from another hotel was coming over to cover. This was not confirmed in writing. My appeal to the Group hotel director on 20 October 2016 was rejected on 22 October 2016.
Questions for employer:
- What did Mr Venables mean when he said ‘You make me think about things’ when I told him I was pregnant? What concerns did he have about my pregnancy?
- Please state everything that was wrong with my work performance, including all incidents and evidence (with dates) relied on by the employer in reaching the conclusion that my performance was poor enough to justify dismissal.
- Please state every occasion, if any, when Mr Venables spoke to me about my work performance with (i) the date (ii) what he was concerned about (iii) what he said.
- Please give the weekly occupancy rates (i) for the Flamingo Hotel (ii) other UK hotels in the group for the five years prior to the date of answering this questionnaire.
- In respect of the decision not to invite me to the Group management meetings in October 2016, please state (i) who made this decision, when and for what reasons; (ii) who was consulted, when and what were their views
- Please state who represented the Flamingo Hotel at each of the Group management meetings from October 2016 to the date of answering this questionnaire.
- In respect of the decision to dismiss me, please state (i) who made this decision, when and for what reasons; (ii) who was consulted, when and what were their views.
- In respect of the decision to reject my appeal, please state (i) who made this decision, when and for what reasons; (ii) who was consulted, when and what were their views.
- Please state who replaced me as manager, when he or she started, and whether it was intended to be a temporary or permanent replacement.
- In respect of my replacement, please state (i) whether the position was advertised. (If so, where and when?); (ii) if not, how my replacement was selected, when and by whom; (iii) who was consulted regarding this decision, when and what were their views?
- Regarding my replacement, please state (i) whether it is a man or woman; (ii) if a woman, whether she is pregnant or has young children (giving details); (iii) her qualifications; (iv) her previous experience; (v) if applicable, date and reason for leaving.
- If there was more than one replacement for me, at the same time or successively, please give the same information as requested at paragraphs 9 – 11.
- Please state all staff employed (a) within the Flamingo Hotel (b) in other hotels in the UK Group in the three years prior to the date of answering this questionnaire by reference to: (i) start date and if applicable, date and reason for leaving. (ii) job title, department and hotel. (iii) whether male or female (iv) whether they were pregnant or went onto maternity leave at any stage during their employment, giving dates.
- Please state all staff disciplined or dismissed by the Flamingo Hotel in the three years prior to the date of answering this questionnaire by reference to: (i) job title and department of employee (ii) whether male or female (iii) whether pregnant (iv) whether previously on maternity leave (if so, with dates) (v) level of all disciplinary action and reason (vi) date of all disciplinary action.
- Please state all employees who have become pregnant or gone onto maternity leave (a) within the Flamingo Hotel (b) in other hotels in the UK Group in the five years prior to the date of answering this questionnaire by reference to: (i) dates of maternity leave (ii) date when notified pregnancy (iii) job title, department and hotel (iv) if applicable, date and reason for leaving hotel (whether dismissed or resigned) (v) if dismissed, reason for dismissal (vi) start date with hotel.
- Please supply details of your Equal Opportunities Policy and any policy relating to pregnancy.
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.