February 18th, 2015 / Insight posted in

Bad news for Employers? Labour to abolish the Employment Tribunal System…

By Linda Powell On 8 September 2014, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, announced at the Trade Union’s Congress that the next Labour government will abolish the employment tribunal system and replace it with a fairer system to ensure that lack of affordability does not prevent employees seeking access to justice arising from workplace disputes. The introduction of fees had been welcomed by employers as redressing the balance, where it was felt by some that they had become the target for unmeritorious claims by disgruntled employees. The coalition government introduced tribunal fees for employment tribunal claims in 2013, which can amount to in some cases around £1300 to bring an employment claim. This level of fees compares unfavourably to the more modest levels for bringing a money claim in the county court. However, since the implementation of the fees there has been a dramatic decline in cases brought by employees – and it is argued by Labour and Trade Unions that this creates new barriers for low-earners who have been the victim of unscrupulous employers who fail to pay wages, unfairly dismiss or discriminate against their employees at work. Unison the Trade Union has brought a legal challenge against the introduction of tribunal fees with a view to having them overturned. The government are also consulting on fees at the moment. However, some might argue that completely abolishing the tribunal system might be a sledgehammer to crack a nut, when all that is needed is a reduction in the level of fees, to weed out the frivolous claims… If you have concerns about an employment tribunal case speak to one of the HR Insight team for some guidance.