Bad news for employers – are Employment Tribunal claims set to rise again?
By Linda Powell Government is expected to announce an imminent review of tribunal fees in the employment tribunal proceedings, which it is hoped by many workers will lead to a reduction in fees. This follows a recent unsuccessful legal challenge by the trade union, UNISON, to the introduction of Tribunal fees. Government statistics produced demonstrate that the number of claims fell by 79% in the final quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2012, and dropped 75% on the third quarter of 2013. Whilst employers may breathe a sigh of relief at the number of falling tribunal claims, Unison argued that Tribunal fees prevented access to justice for workers, and that fees had a disproportionate effect on women. The Court seemed to accept those arguments, but because fees were only introduced in July 2013, the case was brought prematurely. Their full impact could not be assessed without more comprehensive statistics. Academics at Oxford University have argued that the fees were four times higher than they ought to be when compared with other court fees, and that reducing fees to as little as £50 could be enough to deter vexatious claims, but still allow genuine claims to be brought. Have you thought about what the impact might be on your business if Tribunal fees are reduced? Speak to one of the HR Team to decide how to mitigate your business risk.