The Supreme Court ruled last month that the fees payable to bring claims in an Employment Tribunal were unlawful. As a result, employees are now able to bring Tribunal claims without paying any fee.
After the introduction of Tribunal fees in July 2013, the number of Tribunal claims brought by employees reduced by around 70%.
Unfortunately for employers, the recent abolition of these fees (intended to provide employees with increased access to justice) will inevitably result in a significant increase in claims.
Employees will be more likely to ‘give it a go’ in a Tribunal, with little to lose regardless of the outcome. Many will threaten to bring unfair dismissal claims simply in the hope of forcing the employer into a settlement - particularly those dismissed for gross misconduct, poor performance or redundancy.
Businesses are advised to ensure that their employment contracts and policies are appropriate for them and up to date. Any dismissals should be handled carefully and the correct procedures followed.
Doing these things will reduce the risk of any claims in the first place and put the employer in a much stronger position to defend any issues which do arise. It can also vastly reduce any settlement amounts which are paid, and increase the chances of legal costs being recovered from employees who bring frivolous claims.
If you would like us to manage this for you - details of our fixed fee Employment Year Service (which includes unlimited advice and up to date documentation drafted for you) can be found here.
If you have any questions on any of this or are concerned about how the decision may affect you or your business, please contact Alistair Latham (tel: 01482 316728 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Daubney (tel: 01482 316725 or email: email@example.com).