There has been a rise in the number of claims lodged with the Employment Tribunal Service prior to the introduction of fees for claimants. The number of claims made between April 2012 and March 2013 was 191,541 which was a 2.8% increase for the previous year.
From July this year fees must now be paid to bring tribunals in a bid by the Government to reduce the number of frivolous claims. Under the new rules it could now cost over £1,000 for a worker to take their employer to a tribunal.
Cases such as unfair dismissal will carry the higher charges and lower fees will be applicable for matters such as unpaid invoices.
The union Unison has made a legal challenge to the introduction of the fees. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The introduction of punitive fees for taking a claim to an employment tribunal would give the green light to unscrupulous employers to ride roughshod over already basic workers’ rights.”
Following the rise in claims, Alan Price, Group Director for Peninsula Business Services has warned businesses they must ensure fair workplace policies and procedures are in place.
He said: “The annual figures show an increase in the number of tribunal claims, with this clearly showing employees know more about their employment rights than ever before, so if you have sound policies in place then you will be in a better position to defend a tribunal.
“Having watertight policies and procedures is going to help you defend your business; however there is always the chance that a disgruntled worker will make a claim.
“Having clear, correct and fair rules will go a long way in ensuring that a fair decision is made and the impact on you and your business will be proportionate. If you are taken to employment tribunal then ensure that you obtain professional advice to help defend your business.”
Rocket Lawyer UK have health and safety and equal opportunities policies for use by small businesses as well as grievance and disciplinary procedures. Our Quick Guides offer advice on on many aspects of employee management, including this 20 point checklist on the correct way to run a disciplinary procedure.