Chamber News 14th June 2018
Employment tribunal fees were recently abolished. The fees were abolished because the Supreme Court held that the fees were unlawful under both domestic and EU law given that the fees had the effect of preventing justice and made it disproportionately difficult for employees to enforce their employment rights. The fees were also found to be indirectly discriminatory, primarily because a greater proportion of women than men bring expensive employment tribunal claims.
The Ministry of Justice recently published the provisional tribunal statistics for October and December 2017 which show that with the fees now abolished, the number of single employment tribunal claims has increased by 90%. ACAS have also recruited more staff in order to try and cope with the increase of employees approaching them to undertake early conciliation.
If employers are dealing with employee grievances or disciplinaries, it is important to ensure that the correct procedure is followed. For example, if the employer dismisses an employee without complying with relevant procedure, it creates the risk of an employer being found liable for unfair dismissal should the employee commence an employment tribunal claim. Recently, we acted on a case where an ex-employee commenced an employment tribunal claim against her former employer for unfair dismissal. The employer luckily had undertaken a detailed investigation and had complied with all of the regulatory requirements prior to dismissing the employee. The Tribunal determined at the hearing that the dismissal was not unfair.
We currently have various ongoing employment tribunal cases where ex-employees are seeking amounts in excess of £80,000.00 from their former employers. If an employer fails to follow the correct processes when dealing with employee dismissals/grievances then it could result in large Judgments being made against them. Such large amounts could have a major negative impact on the employer’s finances. Therefore, if you require any assistance in dealing with any grievances/dismissals or wish for your staff handbook to be reviewed please contact us.
by Suhail Alloo, Chartered Legal Executive, Qdos Legal Services