Get help with a problem at work

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

The help that you can get for a problem at work depends on what the problem is. You may not need help if you feel you can talk to your line manager about the problem.

To help you decide if you can deal with the problem yourself, check our advice on talking to your employer about a problem.

Trade Unions

If you're a member of a trade union, you should contact them first to ask if they can help with your problem at work. There might be a union representative in your workplace, or you might need to contact your local branch.

Find more information about trade unions on the Trade Unions Congress website.

Help with an employment tribunal case

You may want to get advice before making a claim to an employment tribunal. You might also want to find someone to help you prepare your case or represent you if there is a hearing.

If you cannot get a representation you can appear without a representative. Find out more about preparing an employment tribunal case.

Help from an adviser or representative

You might be able to get help from an adviser or representative from a Citizens Advice Bureau.

An adviser is someone who can help you with your case. An adviser won't usually talk directly to your employer or formally represent you.

An adviser can help you to prepare your case. You must keep in contact with your adviser, particularly when you receive anything from the tribunal or your employer's representative. You should check if you need to respond within a time limit and tell your adviser.

When you get a date for your hearing, you should contact your adviser immediately. If you leave it until just before the hearing, your adviser may not be able to help you make your final preparations.

A representative is someone who is named on the tribunal claim form. They will prepare your case and act as your representative in the tribunal. Usually, you’ll also have to speak at the tribunal to give your evidence, but you’ll get help to do this before the tribunal.

All contact about your case will go to your representative, and they will get in touch with you when they need to. If you're going away, for example on holiday, you must tell your representative.

Talk to an adviser for help with your employment problem or employment tribunal claim. 

Find out what to bring to a bureau.

Adviser Representative

Provides advice and explanations about the process

Helps you to prepare your case

Assists with organising papers

May work through witness information with you

Works as a support regarding times and dates


Deals with your case for you

Prepares your case

Submits any documents to the tribunal

Copies all documents to you

Keeps you up to date on all aspects of the case

Takes instructions from you

Attends the tribunal on your behalf if you want

Acts as the main contact about your case for the tribunal service

Explains the tribunal outcome and any options you may have

Help from a solicitor

You might be able to get legal aid under the Assistance by Way of Representation (ABWOR) scheme to have representation at the tribunal by a solicitor. The Scottish Legal Aid Board must decide each ABWOR application individually. When deciding on your application, the Scottish Legal Aid Board will consider:

  • if it’s reasonable for the issue to go to a tribunal

  • if you can represent yourself – this will depend on how complex the case is.

Find more information about using a solicitor.

Insurance policies

Some insurance policies include legal cover. This means you might be able to get a solicitor paid for by your insurance company. Check your household insurance, car insurance and any other policies you have find out if you’re covered. This includes policies attached to credit cards and mobile phones.

No win, no fee agreements

If you can't afford to pay for a solicitor and you don’t qualify for ABWOR, you may be able to find a solicitor who will take your case on a no win no fee basis. If you win or settle your case, you will normally pay up to a quarter of your compensation to your solicitor. Make sure you check your agreement with them carefully at the beginning, so that you're clear about what you're paying. 

Further help

There are other organisations who may be able to help you with your problem at work.

Law Centres

A Law Centre may be able to offer you free, independent legal advice and representation. They focus on providing legal advice to people who find it difficult to get advice or who are experiencing discrimination.

Find out about alternatives to legal aid on  

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)

Acas can provide confidential and independent advice to help you sort out your employment dispute. You can get advice by calling their helpline or looking on their website.

To speak to an adviser about your employment problem, call the Acas helpline

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline 

Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre (Scotland)

The Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre can provide answers to queries, and explain how the employment tribunal system works. It doesn't give legal advice. You can also find out information about the employment tribunal service on their website.

Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre (Scotland)

Telephone:  0300 790 6234

Textphone:  18001 0300 790 6234


Customer Contact Centre (Scotland)

PO Box 27105


G2 9JR