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Drop In Employment Tribunal Claims From 2012

24th September 2014

In order to reduce the number of frivolous claims made against employers every year, in 2012 a number of fees were introduced so that there was less pressure on employers to bend to their employees’ every whim and so that claims without a strong foundation would be dropped, saving a lot of time and money in legal proceedings.

As more and more people have become aware of the Employment Tribunals, the number of claims has steadily risen over the years. However, with the recent fee introduction these claims have dropped by 70% between April 2013 and June 2014, which is good news for employers as there is a much lower risk of an upset employee making a ‘frivolous’ claim in a bid to squeeze a bit of money out of an employer in order to avoid having to attend a Tribunal hearing. This provides employers with much more security as it is more likely that only serious claims will be upheld, with harsh fees on claims that have no strong basis.

However this does not mean that those who make genuine claims will have to fork out, as if your claim has a strong foundation and evidence that supports it, you may be able to win the claim and be able to apply for a refund on your fees. For money discrepancies the fee currently stands at £160 with £230 added to that for a full hearing. Discrimination claims fees, unfair or constructive dismissal and whistle blowing claims fees are considerably higher, with starting fee of £250 with a further £950 needed for a full hearing.

The government hopes that this fee scheme will provide employers with a little more security, which will allow them to branch out and hire new people. The Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock had this to say of the increase in Tribunal claims before the fees were introduced:

“Unscrupulous workers caused havoc by inundating companies with unfounded claims of mistreatment, discrimination or worse. Like Japanese knotweed, the soaring number of tribunal cases dragged more and more companies into its grip, squeezing the life and energy from Britain’s wealth creators.”

These fees are still a temporary measure and may be subject to change in the future if it appears clear that the balance has switched too far to the other side. It is important to consider the safety and wellbeing of both employers and employees in order to create a stable working environment where genuine discrepancies are highlighted and not hidden away.

Earlier this year Jenny Willott MP made suggestions that the fees may be reduced, among a number of other aspects of the system. The proposal could see fees being reduced to as little as £50 which could still be enough to deter groundless claims and to encourage that genuine claims are followed through.

It is important to reach a stable middle ground, where the fee is high enough to deter pointless claimants but not high enough to intimidate people who have a genuine discrepancy that they want to highlight. As the policy is still relatively new it may take a few years to get it right but if the subsequent drop in the amount of claims employers are receiving is any indication, the introduction of these fees is still certainly a step in the right direction.

Source & Research –

http://www.quickhr.biz/work-disputes-less-risk-of-a-tribunal-claim/

http://www.thelawyer.com/firms-and-the-bar/eversheds-comments-on-further-drop-in-employment-tribunal-claims/3025710.article

http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/government-to-consider-lowering-employment-tribunal-fees/1/5040657.article?PageNo=2&SortOrder=dateadded&PageSize=10#comments

 

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