All About Employment Tribunals
Many of you will be aware of the challenges faced by Employment Tribunals, employers and claimants since the introduction of fees in 2013 and their subsequent removal in 2017.
The Government’s rationale for introducing the fees in the first instance? To cut the number of weak and/or malicious cases. Indeed, as reported in this article from the BBC, government statistics showed that employees brought 79% fewer cases over a three-year period. But, as we know, we can make statistics tell us what we want to hear. So it’s no surprise that the trade union, Unison, counter claimed that the fees prevented workers from getting justice.
Supporting Unison, the Supreme Court ruled that the government had been both unlawful and unconstitutional in introducing the fees in the first place. With fees ranging from £390 to £1,200 too many workers in low-pay jobs couldn’t uphold their workplace rights, pointed out the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady.
Because discrimination cases are more complex and time-consuming the charges for those were highest. The Supreme Court found that situation to be one of indirect discrimination because women are more likely to bring discrimination cases.
The article quotes Unison secretary Dave Prentis as saying: ‘We’ll never know how many people missed out because they couldn’t afford the expense of fees.’
Since the scrapping of the tribunal tariff in July 2017 there’s been a dramatic change to the tribunal landscape. We’ll look at the effects of that and what it means to HR in a moment. First though, a quick look at the mechanics of an employment tribunal.
What do employment tribunals do?
In simple terms, an employment tribunal makes decisions about employment disputes. Employment tribunals hear almost all legal cases about employment. That figure includes cases about such things as unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. Though unhappy employees can bring all sort of claims to an employment tribunal.
A good HR department/employer ought to be aware of problems and be tackling them before they get to the point of reaching tribunal. If you’ve got a conflict situation that you’re struggling to resolve yourself, Go-Legal offers a professional mediation service. Visit the Services page on the website and look for ‘Disputes’.
A tripling of tribunal claims
The MOJ recently published the tribunal statistic for April – June 2018:
According to the Ministry of Justice, the number of receipts for single claims more than doubled when compared with the same quarter in 2017, up to 10,996. Receipts for multiple claims more than quadrupled in the same period, the MoJ reported. Though that was thanks to a large multiple airline claim.’
- The quarter period saw 42,700 multiple claims. This is an increase of 344% on the same period in 2017. Though, to give some perspective to that, there were over 23,000 claims in relation to one employer!
- The number of single claims lodged increased by 165% compared with the same quarter last year. Tribunal fees were abolished in July 2017, so this is a reliable figure as April to June 2017 was the last full quarter when fees were in force.
- The number of single claims outstanding rose by 130% compared with the same quarter last year. HM Courts & Tribunal Service is in the process of recruiting more employment judges, which will help reduce the backlog in the medium to longer term.
None of this should have come as a surprise to anyone. With the abolition of fees, a tribunal tsunami was bound to ensue.
Are you an employer on the receiving end of a claim from an aggrieved staff member?
Go-Legal is here to both support you through it and give you the best chance of winning the case. Visit ‘Services’ on the Go-Legal website and select ‘Employment Tribunals’ for all you need to know.